Freshwater at Wadi Shees
Restoring a traditional water management system
Freshwater is a precious resource we all need to survive. With no long rivers or permanent lakes in the UAE, our only nature source of freshwater is rainfall. Rainwater collects in underground wells and replenishes our groundwater levels. As early as three thousand years ago, our ancestors invented the falaj system, a series of wells and canals, to channel this water towards farms and settlements.
In recent years, groundwater levels have dipped as demand for freshwater has continued to grow. Sustainable use of water is now a top priority in communities such as Wadi Shees where agriculture and cultivation of dates are the main source of income.
Our work has regenerated the Wadi to improve access to water for both society and nature, through the restoration of the traditional Falaj irrigation system that conserve water whilst support the biodiversity of Wadi Shees while maintaining farming practices.
Our goal is to support the sustainable flow of fresh water in Wadi Shees, to meet the needs of the local community, support agriculture and protect species that depend on this remarkable source of freshwater, such as the Arabian Spotted-Eagle Owl, the Caracal wild cat and Blanford’s fox.
We also hope to secure local and global recognition for the falaj at the wadi, given its important role in sustaining and shaping the culture of the region. Our past conservation projects have shown that the creation of protected areas can be instrumental in ensuring protection and prosperity for natural habitats as well as the communities and biodiversity they support.