ABU DHABI - The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Transmission and Despatch Company, has developed a smart management model for the strategic groundwater storage project - Makhazin Al Khayr.
The model aims to use artificial intelligence systems and machine language to manage and operate wells, determine the quantities of pumped water, and control the water quality, so the water pumped from 315 underground wells remains within the permissible specifications and standards for drinking water in Abu Dhabi.
The project also contributes to significantly reducing cost, reducing human interference in the operation process, and achieving the highest efficiency in the project without any errors.
The project includes operating 315 underground wells which is the total number of pumping wells in the project. These wells can be used in times of emergency and can pump about 40 million gallons per day to overcome any shortage in the supply of freshwater resources. About 80 percent of these wells are operated to pump the required quantities in an emergency, and 20 percent are spare wells.
The new project was devised for a variety of reasons, including the possibility of an increase in salinity in one of the wells beyond the permissible limits in the specifications allowed for drinking water in the Emirate. If this happens then a decision must be taken to stop operating the well and operate one of the backup wells. It was discovered that using the human element to implement this would take time and an error could occur in the implementation.
This model can predict the quality of groundwater in the future based on the operating pattern used. According to this pattern, it is possible to identify the wells whose salinity may exceed the permissible limits and standards for drinking water. Similarly, EAD will be able to detect alternative and backup wells whose water quality conforms to the permissible specifications and standards for drinking water.
Accordingly, artificial intelligence technology and machine language were used to link this numerical model of groundwater to the operating model of the project. This system enables the Abu Dhabi government to monitor the pumping quantities and quality of the pumped groundwater and allows the control of the operation of wells by halting the activity of any well before it exceeds its water quality standards and specifications.
Furthermore, the new system permits the operation of an alternative backup well to maintain the quantity and quality of water within the permissible limits during emergencies. This process takes place in a fraction of a minute without the intervention of any human element. Most importantly, it can be controlled and monitored from the central control rooms in the EAD headquarters in Abu Dhabi without the need for anyone to be on the site or the requirement of a large number of human labour to operate the project.
The project is considered one of the pioneering projects in this field. Three young UAE nationals have registered Master’s and Doctoral degrees to develop this system and build human capacities that can in the future develop such highly efficient systems to achieve water security and contend with any emergencies in the emirate.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2021.