The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, is encouraging farmers to use groundwater sustainably at the Liwa Date Festival, which is taking place in the Al Dhafra Region until 29th July.
EAD is participating at the annual festival which promotes the UAE’s heritage and history of date farming as part of its efforts to highlight the important link between the sustainable use of groundwater and the long-term health of Abu Dhabi’s agricultural industry, specifically date farms.
"EAD is committed to raising awareness about the importance of groundwater in order to ensure the sustainable use of this strategic resource," said Dr. Mohamed Dawoud, Advisor in Water Resources and Environmental Quality at EAD. "It is crucial that this resource is used responsibly so that farming activities, and the date industry in particular, can continue to thrive."
"In an effort to safeguard the UAE’s cultural heritage, EAD is developing a crop calculator and is using SAP flow analysis to calculate the optimal irrigation water use by date palms.
Experimentation of irrigation with different water salinity is also being undertaken to improve production and optimise irrigation efficiencies for date palms in Abu Dhabi Emirate," he added.
Date palm trees are found extensively throughout Abu Dhabi Emirate. Their irrigation consumes about a third of the groundwater used by major crops. However, in order to achieve greater levels of water efficiency, a study has been conducted to attain a more precise understanding of water use in date farms.
Data collected can help the EAD to improve irrigation practices and techniques by matching irrigation supply to crop demand.
EAD also conducted a pilot study to determine the precise water requirements of the Lulu variety of date palm, Phase 1 of which has seen EAD researching and testing innovative new measurement techniques.
Data has been gathered from three different date palm species that were under two different salinity treatments. This phase will help to calculate the exact amount of water required for irrigating these species of date palm, the tree/water balance and complete the development of a ‘date-palm management tool’.