Technical Report: Al Ain Water Resources & Climate Change

Technical Report

Author(s): Flores, F. ; Yates, D. ; Galaitsi, S.
Year: 2016

Al Ain region is one of the only locations in the UAE with renewable groundwater, although as a percentage of overall water use, it is quite small. Water use in the region has exploded in the modern era, with the development of thousands of groundwater wells. The overall goal of the sub-project was to better understand Al Ain’s water and agricultural management challenges in the face of climate change and socioeconomic development. Addressing the goal required an analytical framework capable of accounting for the water and agriculture systems of the region in an integrated manner.

The SEI’s Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) system was used for this analysis. The structure of the Al Ain water system model accounts for the locations of all water supply sources and the magnitude of current and future demand for water. The spatial coverage encompasses the eastern region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate, which includes Al Ain and the wadis of the Oman Mountains, reflecting the shared aquifers between the UAE and Oman, where there is some renewable fresh groundwater. WEAP’s plant growth model was incorporated to simulate the effects of climate change and elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations on cultivated plant’s water use and crop yields. Two Business-as-usual scenarios were considered - one without climate change; the other with climate change. Two policy scenarios were considered - one focused on climate-resilient agricultural development (FallowFF); the other focused on maximizing renewable groundwater storage (GWStabilize). The results of analysis confirm that climate change will impact the region's water resources, although in a salutary way.

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