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Hydrogeology of Wadi Wurayah, United Arab Emirates, and its importance for biodiversity and local communities

Tourenq, Christophe
Brook, Mike
Knuteson, Sandra
Shuriqi, Maral Khaled
Sawaf, Moaz
Perry, Lisa
Wadi Wurayah, in the Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, lies within the Hajar Mountain range by the Gulf of Oman. The climate of the area is influenced by climatic events originating in Africa, Eastern Europe-Siberia, and the Indian and Pacific oceans. Rainfall provides 18.7 hm3 water annually, with an average of 2.24 hm3 as runoff. Recharge from rainfall to the mountain ophiolite complex creates a unique hydrogeological system with permanent freshwater habitats that support a biodiversity unique in the country and the world. The freshwater habitats host, amongst others, two species of amphibians, one fish species and aquatic insect species new to science. Spring waters classified as magnesium bicarbonate, slightly alkaline, with temperatures from 22 to 28◦C and an average pH of 8.3, meet physico-chemical standards for drinking and bottled water, but do not meet the bacteriological standards near places frequented by tourists. An active management of the human pressure on the whole wadi ecosystem is urgently needed.