ADAFSA Launches Ambitious Plan to Expand Recycled Water Use in Abu Dhabi Farms
The Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA) announced the delivery of recycled water to more than 1,600 farms in Al Khatam, Al Khaznah and Al Nahda areas, as part of an ambitious plan to expand the use of recycled water for irrigating farms in Abu Dhabi.
The initiative has been undertaken in collaboration with Department of Energy - Abu Dhabi (DoE), Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), in addition to TAQA, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain Distribution Company, and Abu Dhabi Sustainable Water Solutions Company.
Abu Dhabi's plan to expand the use of recycled water in agriculture is in line with its overall sustainability goals, as recycled water is one of the important and necessary options to reduce pressure on groundwater resources and can be used in various development sectors, including agriculture, to ensure the sustainability of agricultural production and reduce the depletion of natural water resources.
TAQA and its subsidiaries have constructed the pipelines, which will transport and distribute approximately 150,000 cubic metres per day to farms in Al Khatam, Al Khaznah and Al Nahda areas to meet their recycled water needs at a rate of 73 cubic metres per day for each farm, equivalent to 16,500 gallons of water.
The plan to use recycled water in agriculture will save large amounts of groundwater by eliminating the pumping of groundwater from approximately 4,850 wells in Al Khatam and Al Khaznah areas, helping to conserve non-renewable water resources and achieve optimal use of water resources and sustainability of the agricultural sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The project is in line with the objectives of the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 to ensure the sustainability and continuity of securing water supplies for all residential, commercial, government, industrial and agricultural uses.
It is also consistent with Abu Dhabi's recycled water policy, which aims to maximise the use of recycled water, in addition to contributing to the rationalisation of groundwater use in agriculture and achieving integrated management and sustainable development of available water resources.
This is because recycled water is one of the most important alternative and sustainable sources for use in agriculture, with the need to comply with international standards that ensure the safe use of recycled water and the safety of agricultural products produced by farms irrigated with this water.
ADAFSA is collaborating with all relevant authorities in the Emirate to identify sustainable and alternative sources of groundwater and desalinated water for agricultural uses in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in addition to adhering to implementing procedures and mechanisms that protect public health and the environment while also promoting agricultural production in the Emirate.
According to His Excellency Mubarak Ali Alqusaili Al Mansoori, Executive Director of the Agricultural Affairs Sector in ADAFSA, recycled water is a renewable and non-traditional water source, and ADAFSA seeks to expand its use on farms to achieve the strategic goal of enabling and promoting the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices and systems.
He further pointed out that the agricultural sector still relies on groundwater for 81.4%, desalinated seawater for 18% and recycled water for 0.6%, so the use of recycled water must be expanded to reduce groundwater depletion and desalinated seawater consumption.
ADAFSA, in cooperation with its stakeholders, has succeeded in implementing a project to irrigate 143 farms in Al Nahda area with recycled water instead of groundwater, where these farms are supplied with their needs of recycled water from Al Mafraq station, and then treated to the advanced stage in the additional treatment plant in Al Nahda.
The project will also ensure the cessation of groundwater use and stop wells in 1,600 farms and forests in the Al Khatam and Al Khaznah areas at a rate of up to 250,000 cubic metres per day, contributing to the rational use of groundwater in agriculture and achieving integrated management and sustainable development of available water resources.