Water consumption in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region has been slashed by 75 per cent, thanks to irrigation methods used by the Department of Municipalities and Transport.
Government figures show 12.4 billion gallons of water were saved in 2021, thanks to better use of natural resources.
Only 1.2 millimetres of rain fell in the first three months of 2021, with figures compiled by the National Centre of Meteorology showing the six months from October to March yielded a fifth of expected rainfall ― a total of 7.73mm in Abu Dhabi.
The dry spell forced authorities to focus on water-saving initiatives, including improving the use of groundwater in Al Dhafra.
Al Dhafra Region Municipality introduced programmes to bolster the region’s vegetation while reducing groundwater usage to irrigate trees and plants, in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The programmes increased irrigation efficiency in green spaces, mid-streets islands, and roadside plants using innovative methods.
Local plant species covered an area of 58,000 square metres, under the beautification project that includes 40 roundabouts and several traffic islands covering 156,000 square metres.
The municipality also removed 61,611 harmful trees from communities across the region, as these severely affected groundwater and had a negative impact on the infrastructure assets and the city’s appearance.
By removing the trees and replacing them with local plant species, water consumption was reduced to 66 million gallons a year.
Other measures included the decommissioning of groundwater wells near Jebel Dhanna and along the Ghweifat International Highway.
As part of the department’s goal to boost groundwater consumption efficiency, 19 wells were removed from use entirely while several others were only partially operational.
In Abu Dhabi, the municipality covered 504 wells in areas where diseased and dying trees were removed, as part of the beautification maintenance programme. Another 33 shafts were covered as part of continuing efforts to make abandoned wells safe.
Water consumption in the green spaces of residential areas was 4.59 litres per square metre, a reduction of more than 57 per cent from the year’s objective of 8.0 litres per square metre.
There are plans for other cities across the emirate to benefit from these methods in the coming months.