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Thu 2 Oct 2008 08:39 AM

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$270mn plan to establish fresh water reserve

Abu Dhabi aims to create emergency supply with 5bn gallons underground.

$270mn plan to establish fresh water reserve
LIQUID ASSETS: Abu Dhabi plans to create a five billion gallon reserve of fresh water for use in emergencies. (Getty Images)

Abu Dhabi has revealed plans to pump billions of gallons of fresh water underground to establish a reserve for use in the case of emergencies.

The $270 million project would supply the emirate with drinking water for three months should other sources fail.

The water would be stored in artificial aquifers, layers of water-bearing rock or sand from which reserves could be drawn through wells, reported UAE daily The National on Thursday.

Dr Mohammed Dawoud, manager of water resources for the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, told the paper more than five billion gallons of desalinated water would be pumped underground, at a rate of five million gallons a day for three years.

The aquifer scheme was approved in March after a successful pilot project near Liwa in 2004. Work on the main strategic reserve is expected to start by the end of next year, with water injection starting in 2011.

Dawoud said the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi would decide what facilities were needed to create and maintain the reserve, with companies likely to be invited to bid for construction and other work next year.