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Water 2016, 8(9), 415; doi:10.3390/w8090415

Water Budget Analysis in Arid Regions, Application to the United Arab Emirates

1
Institute Center for Water and Environment (iWATER), Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 54224, Abu Dhabi, UAE
2
INRS-ETE, National Institute of Scientific Research, Quebec City, QC G1K9A9, Canada
3
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
4
Environment Agency—Abu Dhabi, P.O. Box 45553, Abu Dhabi, UAE
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Trevor Elliot
Received: 23 June 2016 / Revised: 29 August 2016 / Accepted: 8 September 2016 / Published: 21 September 2016
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Abstract

Population growth and economic development have impacted the capacity of water resources to meet demands in a number of arid countries. This study focuses on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where low rainfall, high rate of growth and agricultural development are resulting in a dramatic depletion of groundwater resources and an increased dependence on desalination. A water budget for the region was developed. It represents the variations in groundwater storage as a balance of total precipitation, desalinated water and evapotranspiration. The components of the water budget are obtained from ground observations, documented information, models and remote sensing data, using Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to estimate changes in groundwater storage and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellites and Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) data to obtain precipitation and soil moisture respectively. Results show a negative trend of 0.5 cm/year in groundwater levels corresponding to an average decrease of 0.86 km3/year during the study period (2003 to 2012). This negative trend indicates that the aquifers are not being recharged fast enough to compensate for human withdrawals. Most of the precipitation was found to be lost through evapotranspiration. A discussion of the current water budget components is presented and propositions are made for a sustainable use of water resources in the UAE, including a more efficient use of recycled water. This analysis is applicable to other Gulf countries and it can help to determine the optimal allocation of water resources to optimize agricultural productivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: GRACE; groundwater; remote sensing; UAE; water budget GRACE; groundwater; remote sensing; UAE; water budget
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Gonzalez, R.; Ouarda, T.B.M.J.; Marpu, P.R.; Allam, M.M.; Eltahir, E.A.B.; Pearson, S. Water Budget Analysis in Arid Regions, Application to the United Arab Emirates. Water 2016, 8, 415.

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