Impact of a new green desert city on groundwater

Published: 25 August 2017

An entirely new city will rise soon in Kuwait. The ambition of South Saad Al Abdullah New City is to be an environmentally friendly city that will be a home for 400,000 people. A highly advanced technological and ecological infrastructure will be created in an area about as large as the Dutch city Utrecht, with temperatures of 45°C in the summer and an average temperature of 28°C.

Kuwait is mostly desert and days with 50°C are not uncommon so water is an important and strategic raw material. Brackish groundwater is available (in two aquifers) at the site of the new city. It is mixed with desalinated seawater for use as drinking water and for agriculture.

Concerns about the impact on the quality of groundwater

research in Koeweit

There are concerns about the impact of a new city on the quality of groundwater in the long term and during construction. So one of the requirements of the Kuwait government for the Korean consultant designing the city was an independent study by an international research institute to map out any possible risks for the groundwater. Sophie Vermooten, the Deltares project manager, explains: ‘We have accepted the challenge of formulating sound conclusions and recommendations in a very short time. A multidisciplinary team of excellent geological, geotechnical and groundwater experts make this possible.

Kuweit and Korea working together

The project is commissioned by The Public Authority for Housing Welfare (PAHW) of the state of Kuwait and by the Korea Land and Housing Corporation (LH). Deltares works in a consortium led by the Korean Engineering and Architecture company Sunjin.