At a glance
In the middle of an Abu Dhabi desert lies the world’s largest man-made reservoir of desalinated water, thanks to city officials’ efforts to ensure water security for its residents.
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi announced the completion of the Liwa Strategic Water Reserve project Jan. 15 on Twitter. Fed by one of the longest pipelines in the United Arab Emirates, the water is held within a network of 315 underground wells in the Liwa Desert and can supply clean water for 1 million people for up to 90 days.
“The project ensures continuous water supply for Abu Dhabi city and the Al Dhafra region and secures the reserve for future generations,” Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) Director-General Dr. Saif Saleh al-Sayari told the Emirates News Agency. “Whenever needed, water from the 315 wells, lying up to (260 feet) below ground, can be used to recover supplies at any time.”
According to al-Sayari, they selected the Liwa Desert for the $540 million project because it met their exact specifications.
“These included an extremely light water basin trajectory to prevent leakage; capable of sustaining a ‘tank’ thickness to handle significant storage volumes; safe surroundings, free of human activities which could contaminate the reserve, and where groundwater quality was of sufficient quality to allow for ‘recharge and mixing,'” he said.
The reserve contains roughly 7 billion gallons of water and took 26 months to fill completely, Quartz reported. It can provide up to 26 million gallons of water per day to residents in case of emergencies.
This amount is only a fraction of the country’s daily water consumption. Residents of Abu Dhabi consume more than 150 gallons of water per person daily, Quartz reported. As a country, 1.5 billion gallons of water are consumed, as it is used for purposes outside of drinking, such as watering golf courses and supplying entertainment parks.