Water Resources Interactions in Abu Dhabi Under Varying Water Management Strategies: An Integrated Dynamic Analysis

  • Safa M. A. Al Sadi

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Water security is a major challenge facing Abu Dhabi Emirate. The Emirate has limited natural water resources but increasing water demand with economic and population growths. While fossil fuel based desalination has traditionally served as the major source of water supply, it generates greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and is not an economical option for non-potable water use such as irrigation. Meanwhile, waste water increases with the rise of water consumption. Waste water currently accounts for a very minor proportion of water supply in Abu Dhabi. It is then imperative to investigate the potential of leveraging waste water treatment to reducing water production cost, mitigating GHG and preserving ground water in Abu Dhabi. To achieve the aim, this thesis develops an integrated dynamic water resource management model for Abu Dhabi to analyze the complex interactions of water supply and demand where water can be treated to different quality during its life cycle for various purposes. The model is rigorously validated with a set of testing strategies, and is then applied to analyze water supply and demand in Abu Dhabi by source and use for both the business as usual (BAU) scenario and under a set of water management strategies such as leakage control, increase of return to sewage rate, and decrease of water supply for agricultural production. The analysis reports water shortfall by use, water production cost, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emission and energy consumption from 2010 to 2030. A multi-criteria decision making analysis is then performed to identify the optimal water management strategy. Result shows that water supply shortfall, production cost, CO2 emission and energy consumption will decline by about 61%, 12%, 13% & 14% respectively in the optimal water management strategy compared to the BAU scenario. This is achieved by full utilization of recycled water, decrease of annual agricultural water demand by 2%, decrease of leakage in the transmission and distribution process by 10% whereas maintaining the current return to sewer rate. Under the optimal strategy, the utilization of desalination capacity will decline by 15%. Further desalination capacity (beyond planned) acts mainly to offset reduced ground water for agriculture and amenity. Meanwhile, agriculture & livestock sector will encounter 12% shortfall compared to 50% at BAU, whereas amenity will encounter 43% shortfall compared to 65% at BAU. Water shortfall primarily occurs in the agriculture and forestry driven by reclining ground water extraction.
Date of AwardMay 2015
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorI-tsung Tsai (Supervisor)


  • Integrated Water Resource Management
  • System Dynamics
  • Recycled Water
  • Desalination
  • Ground Water
  • Energy
  • CO2 Emissions.

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