Water Resources

Water is a sensitive and fundamental substance that acts as insurance for life on earth. It is, therefore, essential to acknowledge the importance of water resources and the ecosystem services that they provide, as well as natural ecosystems’ reliance on water. Because of this strong connection, managing such a vital resource requires an integrated approach that acknowledges its availability for future generations in terms of quantity and quality.
In the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, water resource management is facing many challenges, particularly the scarcity of fresh water. Daily domestic water consumption in the emirate is 590 litres per capita, one of the highest in the world. In addition, the expected increase in demand for water, due to the emirate’s rapid economic and human development, is making the challenge even more serious.

Current State

2,013 Mm3

Groundwater abstracted in 2015 (projected value)


A low natural recharge rate, coupled with the increasing demand for water (linked to rapid socio-economic change), is driving reliance on non-conventional water resources in Abu Dhabi Emirate.


Groundwater extraction for agriculture and forestry purposes exceeds the natural recharge rate, while domestic water consumption in Abu Dhabi Emirate is one of the highest in the world.


Over the last decade, the emirate’s overall groundwater level has continuously declined, particularly in the Al Ain Region. The usable groundwater reserve (with total dissolved solids (TDS) of less than 15,000 ppm) had slightly increased in 2016 compared to 2005.


The Al Ain Region is most affected by red zones (a groundwater level decline greater than 15 metres). These zones will increase reliance on the desalinated water supply, increasing the environmental burden from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the discharge of brine water into the marine environment.


A number of entities are working across different priorities to address the water stress issue within an integrated water management framework. This aims to achieve natural water conservation while minimising pollution.

Download the chapter for

Water Resources


Download the Full

Abu Dhabi State Of Environment Report


To take a closer look at the raw data, connect with our