Groundwater of Abu Dhabi Emirate: A regional assessment by means of remote sensing and geographic information system

Samy Ismail Elmahdy, Mohamed Mostafa Mohamed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Mapping of geological, topographical, and hydrological elements is critical for understanding and assessing the regional hydrological setting in an arid region. In this study, a synergistic approach has been developed, which uses a combination of remote sensing data and geographic information system (GIS) to map factors controlling groundwater recharge, discharge, and quality across the Abu Dhabi Emirate. The Spectral Angel Mapper (SAM) algorithm, which uses a n-D angle to match the pixels to reference spectra, was used to map new water-bearing rocks, and the deterministic eight-node (D8) algorithm, which allows flow to only one of the eight neighbors based on the direction of steepest descent, was used to map paleochannels. The terrain category was applied to simulate seawater intrusion from digital elevation model (DEM). New maps of lithology, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), and paleochannels were derived and interpreted from multi-sources of remote sensing data. The study indicated that the area was produced by a fluvial and eolian process and recharged by local, intermediate, and regional flows. The results showed that the Oman and Hafeet Mountains are the natural sources of groundwater recharge as well as HCO3, Ca, Na, and Mg in groundwater. The mapped factors were spatially correlated with hydrologic anomalies observed in groundwater wells. The integrated approach is timely, cost-effective, and can be used in arid regions for numerical modeling as well as water balance analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA077
Pages (from-to)11279-11292
Number of pages14
JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015


  • Al Ain
  • GIS
  • Groundwater
  • Paleochannels
  • Remote sensing
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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