Weeks ago, space photographer Farouk Al Baz who is also a veteran of the Apollo Programme, and a Research Professor and Director of the Centre for Remote Sensing at Boston University in the United States, discovered large underground reserves and numerous courses of rivers and streams under Arabian deserts through radar images. He pointed out that these ‘have yet to be exploited’ and ‘could provide vital resources for agriculture in some of the world's driest areas.’
In reaction to this, Dr. Ahmed Murad, Coordinator of the College of Sciences-Research Affairs at the UAE University, warn against heeding to his hint. “The Arabian Peninsula, including the UAE is facing a problem related to the water, so it would be better to use these waters here in our country instead of transporting them overseas. If the waters are pure, we need to use them as a reservoir for drinking water. Let us secure our countries first, and then transport the remaining later on,” he said.
“Here in the UAE, the water resources are facing a serious problem due to many factors. One of which is the population growth. Immigration increases to the country and that is why there is insufficient amount of water,” he added.
“Second, an economy requires water. Without water, there can be no growth in an economy. Ours depend mainly in water. Water is life. Without water, agriculture will also not grow. Industries will not grow too. Without water to suit a human’s need, the economy will not proceed since it requires human beings to monitor and operate it. It will suffer, so you need to provide sufficient amount of water for these uses.”
“Most of the people in UAE use desalinated water. If we would get the waters underground and if there is sufficient quantity of them, we should use it for drinking purposes first. The groundwater is fresh, and that would reduce our need for desalinated water, thereby lessening its cost.”
Dr. Murad will be one of the researchers the UAE will be sending for the 4th Annual Meeting of Asia Oceania Geosciences Society (AOGS) on July 30 to August 4 at Bangkok, Thailand. He is going to present four studies namely the Assessment of Surface Water and Groundwater in the UAE, the Evaluation of the Falaj Water in the Al Ain area in the UAE, and about the Interaction of Water and Aquifer in a plain near Jebel Hafeet.
E. Landais. “Call to tap hidden water under desert.” Gulf News. 01 July 2007.