Modeling aquifer storage and recovery in the eastern district of the United Arab Emirates using MODFLOW

Sci Rep. 2022 Oct 20;12(1):17537. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-20470-7.

ABSTRACT

The Emirate of Abu Dhabi has relied on groundwater as a source of fresh water for several decades, which has resulted in the deterioration of non-renewable groundwater aquifers. This has led to the installation of desalination plants for fresh water supply. This research aims to increase strategic water reserves in the eastern district of Abu Dhabi by analyzing the best locations for aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). The ASR technology offers an opportunity to store large volumes of water for later beneficial use. This study explores an option of using excess desalination water for ASR recharge in the eastern district Al Ain region of Abu Dhabi. A limiting factor in the application of the ASR technology is the lack of suitable sites. Detailed hydrogeological and operational knowledge of the studied areas helped in identifying potential sites for ASR based on a scoring system. Determining best locations for managed aquifer recharge is a crucial design step. Five scenarios were studied at Al-Khrair and Al-Shuwaib sites in Al Ain region. Results show that a wider distribution of injection wells with intervals more than 1200 m is more suitable to overcome the excessive head buildup. Based on the adopted criteria, Al-Khrair was the best site for recharge followed by Al-Shuwaib. Al-Khrair site can be recharged at 64,000 m3 d-1 for seven years, while Al-Shuwaib site can be recharged at 64,000 m3 d-1 for only two years.

PMID:36266293 | PMC:PMC9584962 | DOI:10.1038/s41598-022-20470-7

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