Ground water is increasingly becoming critical in the emirate of Abu Dhabi because of its extensive use in agriculture, landscaping, and afforestation. The rulers emirate of Abu Dhabi, and private entities have invested a lot in agriculture to help ensure that the country is food secure. The success witnessed in agriculture and afforestation has come at a great cost in terms of the use of precious ground water.
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According to Shahid et al., ground water is largely a non-renewable resource, and if it is overused, it can easily be depleted within a very short time (84). Overuse also leads toa reduction in quality,y and the salinity of the water increases, making it undesirable both for domestic and agricultural use. A number of experts and environmental conservationists have already issued a warning about the possibility of the wells running dry in the near future and it is now time to act.
The stakeholders must ensure that there is sustainability in the use of ground water. This paper focuses on the strategy that can be used to ensure that ground water in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is used sustainably.
Importance of Ground Water Locally
According to a report by World Bank, Abu Dhabi, and the United Arab Emirates, at large, has negligible clean water reserves (76). For a long time, the country relied on imported agricultural products to meet the needs of the local population. However, this changed when the stakeholders in the agricultural sector realized that ground water could be harvested and used to support agriculture. Ground water plays a critical role in supporting agriculture in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The local agricultural production does not rely on rain fall anymore. The locals rely on ground water to irrigate their crops, enhancing reliability in their production.
This emirate is becoming a major source of agricultural products needed in the country. Environmental conservationists are also relying heavily on ground water in their afforestation efforts. Currently, the emirate has more trees than it has ever had in its recent history. Ground water is also used actively in landscaping. As Cahan notes, ground water has become very important in providing food security and making the emirate greener than it has ever been (44).
Environmental Strategies through DPSIR Framework
It is important to analyze the environmental strategies with the help of DPSIR framework. The following issues should be taken into consideration.
The driving force that makes ground water conservation so important is the fact that clean water sources are increasingly becoming scarce in Abu Dhabi. The country needs clean water both for domestic and industrial use. However, the available sources are becoming scarce, raising the issue of sustainability.
The limited ground water reserves are put under great pressure by various stakeholders. Amery estimates that the current harvesting levels of ground water in Abu Dhabi are 25 times higher than the natural recharge (54). It means that if the current trends continue, the ground water reserves will soon run dry.
The current state of affairs is worrying. Although ground water is available for domestic and industrial use, the emerging trends where some people engage in illegal drilling of water is worrying. It makes it difficult to have exact measurement of ground water use.
The impact of the current trends will be depletion of ground water reserves in the country. If nothing is done, then the important ground water reserves that support agriculture, afforestation, and landscaping will be dry. These sectors will be affected and food security threatened.
The government of Abu Dhabi and all other stakeholders in the private sector must work together to ensure that water security is given priority. They must come up with a way of ensuring that current water needs are met in a way that will also enable the future generation to meet their own needs. Sustainability should be the guiding principle.
Benchmarking and Trend Analysis
The response team should use benchmarking and trends analysis to find the best response strategy. The response should be benchmarked with best practices around the world. Israel is capable of meeting its water needs despite being a desert country. Their water use practices should be the benchmark for this emirate. The trends in water conservations in other parts of the world should also influence the local practices in Abu Dhabi.
Use of SWOT Model
It is important to assess the response that is needed to ensure that ground water in the emirate of Abu Dhabi is used sustainably to serve the current and future generations. Using the SWOT model, one can assess factors which are favorable and those that are unfavorable to the conservation efforts. The strength that the government and stakeholders have is the financial capacity and environmental experts to help in water recycling in the country as a way of reducing burden on the use of ground water.
However, the stakeholders have to contend with the weakness that this emirate has very few clean water reserves, forcing them to continue relying on ground water for agricultural and other needs. In their effort to conserve ground water, the stakeholders should take advantage of the opportunities presented in the current environment. Technology is one of the most important opportunities that will help the stakeholders be capable of recycling water at lower costs and very efficiently, hence reducing the pressure put on ground water (Shahid and Ahmed 32). The international experts will also help in the response, especially those from other countries that face the same problems as that of the emirate.
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However, in the response process the stakeholders must be keen on identifying and dealing with threats that may affect it negatively. The biggest threat that the stakeholders have to deal with is illegal drilling and use of ground water.
Use of PESTEL Model
The use of PESTLE model will help in defining the appropriate response. The political environment in the country is very favorable for the response process. The rulers of this emirate are very supportive towards environmental conservation efforts. The economic environment of the emirate has also remained very supportive. As the economy grows, the stakeholders get financial power to invest in projects that will help in promoting sustainable use of ground water. The social environment, especially the growing level of education and an understanding of the need to conserve the environment will help in promoting positive response. The more people get to understand the need for sustainable use of water, the more they will support the efforts to conserve ground water (Gibson et al. 67).
The technological environment will be one of the pillars in the response to the issue at hand. Emerging technologies will help the stakeholders to recycle water more efficiently and to have alternative water sources other than ground water. The government needs to come up with a strict legal environment that will deter illegal drilling of ground water. The need to conserve environment is another important drive towards the sustainable use of ground water.
Address Policy Nexus Issues
The past and present trends analysis of water use makes it possible to map the future. It is clear that the current rate at which ground water is used in the emirate is not sustainable. As such, policy nexus issues should focus on how to limit the rate of harvesting ground water. Ground water should be harvested, but in a way that do not pose threat to the water reserves (Gibson et al. 27). Policies should be enacted to ensure that only a given percentage of water is extracted per given period.
That will require policies that define how water should be recycled both in the domestic and industrial sectors. Everyone should feel the responsibility to conserve ground water reserves by being responsible when it comes to water use. Tough laws should be enacted for those who exceed the set limits for ground water harvesting and those who drill wells illegally.
The emirate of Abu Dhabi is heavily relying on ground water reserves for agriculture, afforestation, and landscaping. However, ground water harvesting in Abu Dhabi is 25 times higher than the natural recharge, which means that the current use of ground water is not sustainable. The stakeholders must come together and find ways through which ground water can be used sustainably to meet the current needs without affecting the ability of the future generations to meet their needs.
Amery, Hussein. Arab Water Security: Threats and Opportunities in the Gulf States. Cambridge University, 2015.
Cahan, Jean. Water Security in the Middle East: Essays in Scientific and Social Cooperation. Anthem Press, 2017.
Gibson, MacDonald, et al. Environmental Burden of Disease Assessment: A Case Study in the United Arab Emirates. Springer, 2013.
Shahid, Shabbir, and Muhammad Ahmed. Environmental Cost and Face of Agriculture in the Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: Fostering Agriculture in the Context of Climate Change. Cengage, 2014.
Shahid, Shabbir, et al. Developments in Soil Classification, Land Use Planning and Policy Implications: Innovative Thinking of Soil Inventory for Land Use Planning and Management of Land Resources. Springer, 2013.
World Bank. Renewable Energy Desalination: An Emerging Solution to Close the Water Gap in the Middle East and North Africa’s. World Bank, 2012.