Impact of land use/land cover changes on groundwater resources in Al Ain region of the United Arab Emirates using remote sensing and GIS techniques

Muhammad Usman Liaqat, Mohamed Mostafa Mohamed, Rezaul Chowdhury, Samy Ismail Elmahdy, Qasim Khan, Rubina Ansari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Urbanisation causes land degradation problems, including an increased pressure on natural resources and management of water resources. This study aims to investigate the impact of the spatio-temporal dynamics of land use land cover (LULC) changes on groundwater table in the region of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates (UAE), from 2006 to 2016. The Landsat images, Landsat ETM for 2006 and Landsat 8 for 2016, were acquired from the earth explorer site. A semi-supervised hybrid classification method was used for image classification and post-classification techniques for LULC change detection. The study area was categorised into six major LULC classes. These are agriculture/farms/oasis, gardens/playgrounds, urban areas, sandy areas, lake and mixed urban/sandy areas. Accuracy assessment of LULC were evaluated using confusion matrix and ground truthing. The obtained land use and land cover maps were also correlated with spatial groundwater table maps prepared with groundwater data. It was found that agriculture/farms/oasis and urban areas expanded from 42,560 ha to 45,950 ha (7.38%) and from 8150 ha to 9105 ha (10.49%) from 2006 to 2016, respectively. The corresponding water demand was increased by 9.56% and 22.22%, respectively. Natural sandy area was found to decrease by 8.10%. As groundwater is major source of water for agriculture in this region, the spatial maps also revealead average declining rate of groundwater depth 40.44% with expansion of urban and agricultural areas over the last 10 years. The outcomes of the study would help concerning authorities for a sustainable management of its land and groundwater resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100587
JournalGroundwater for Sustainable Development
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021


  • Al Ain
  • Groundwater mapping
  • Land use land cover change
  • Remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology


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