Abu Dhabi leads the Gulf Region in environmental innovation. This time, a desert forest irrigated with treated wastewater.
Last year we were somewhat alarmed that the UAE had ambitions to plant one million trees. Even though the carbon sponging benefits are potentially enormous, the water required to keep said trees alive might have overwhelmed the pros. A new initiative circumvents this dilemma. Developed by a joint coalition of Abu Dhabi’s’s Water & Electricity Authority, Veolia water, and the construction company Besix, a four acre forest 40km outside of the capital will create a carbon sink, a habitat for living things, and an educational facility.
The National reports that by August, a new sewage plant will be built in Al Wathba. The water treated there will in part be used to water the forest, only about 0.05% of its output, while the remaining water will be pumped back to the capital. There it will be used for landscaping projects.
When it reaches full capacity, the sewage plant will be able to process 300,000 cubic meters of water every day. Initially, however, it will handle only 150,000 cubic meters.
The park being developed will be called “Hayat,” which is translated from Arabic to mean “Life.” This is a relevant name given that the group hope to provide a habitat for insects and mammals, and to plant 45 indigenous species amounting to a sum of 20,000 new plants.
Built adjacent to the sewage plant, the park will feature a 30m by 1-3m wide stream surrounded by reeds (perhaps for further filtering?), as well as a boardwalk. Visitors will be able to witness the process by which grey water is recycled.
Inspired by the Emirate wadis (streams) Hayat will be more than just a forest in the desert – remarkable in itself. It will also be an educational facility designed, according to the project’s Managing Director Marc Richli, to increase awareness of water’s value.
The forest will cost almost $900,000, including irrigation and maintenance. In order to make this a collaborative initiative that people care about, the group are seeking partnerships and donors. They are also looking for assistance from either nurseries or universities who will be able to help source indigenous seeds and saplings.
By the end of 2011, the park should be open.
In many ways, Abu Dhabi is forging ahead as a leader in environmental awareness. With its Corniche cleanup program, its indigenous grasses restoration plans, its back-up water supply, and its turn-it-off campaign, Abu Dhabi is setting an example that every Gulf nation should follow.
:: image and story via The National
More environmental solutions being generated in Abu Dhabi:
Abu Dhabi Builds Huge Aquifer To Hide Desalinated Water
500 Solar-Powered Recycling Units Promote Conservation Ethos in Abu Dhabi
Segway “Police” Achieve Fame For Corniche Cleanup