An acute water shortage for irrigation has surfaced in the United Arab Emirates (uae) due to expanding agricultural activity. The groundwater level is plummeting at an alarming rate, the demand for it is rising steeply (it is expected to increase from 1,400 billion cubic metres in 2000 to 2,050 billion cubic metres in 2025) and experts are all at sea. At such a time, the uae government has announced that it is studying a proposal to desalinate water. According to the plan, seawater should be desalinated and provided to farms through pipelines. Further, meters should be installed at farms to charge the farmers for this water and prevent wastage. Engineer Abdul Rashid al Moalla, director of central agricultural region, ministry of agriculture and fisheries, points out that a study is also underway to irrigate farms with a mixture of desalinated and saline water. The ministry is introducing new agricultural methods to minimise the use of water. It is working on protected farming systems in greenhouses and the drip irrigation system.
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