Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Science

First Advisor

Dr. Mohsen Sherif

Second Advisor

Dr. Mohamed Dawoud

Third Advisor

Dr. Abdel Mohsen Mohamed


The Abu Dhabi Emirate has witnessed a remarkable development in the various aspects of life during the last three decades. Such rapid development imposes a tremendous pressure on natural resources including water. Conventional water resources in the Emirate are limited. The surface water is almost absent due to the scarcity and randomness of rainfall coupled with the prevailing arid conditions and high evaporation rates. In addition, groundwater is mostly brackish and non-renewable. Over-pumping practices have resulted into a severe decline in the groundwater levels and quality. A large portion of the freshwater demands in the Abu Dhabi Emirate is covered by desalinated water. Desalination plants often operate under a constant production capacity and are designed to meet the peak demands throughout the year. In other words, the freshwater production from the desalination plants remains constant regardless of the changes in demands not only from one season to the other but also during the same day. This has resulted in an excess of freshwater availability during specific periods where the demands are relatively low.

Water resources management and environmental issues are both addressed in a parallel manner in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. As a part of the water resources management plan, and to ensure the full utilization of the desalinated water, the excess of water during low demand periods can be used in recharging the depleting aquifers. This will help restore the groundwater resources and enhance the productivity of aquifers. However, environmental risk assessment of groundwater storage that could be contaminated from different sources should be conducted first to ensure the feasibility and effectiveness of this option. Groundwater contamination is mostly related to the construction of landfills near groundwater protective zones, spill of oil and other contaminants that might be released from gas stations, and vehicle accidents, pesticides contamination from farms, and lack of understanding of the consequences of such events.

The objective of this study is two-fold: first, to study the feasibility of artificial recharge of the groundwater resources in Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and second to employ a numerical groundwater model to simulate and predict the fate and transport of contaminants that might be released from different sources in the vicinity of recharge/discharge protection zones. Several scenarios, based on different assumptions, have been examined to study the potential impacts of contamination of groundwater around the wells of the Liwa aquifer located in the Western region of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Through numerical modelling, the dimensions and location of the necessary groundwater protection zones are defined.