Water fluxes were estimated and a water budget developed for the land surface and a surficial 10-m-deep section of the coastal sabkhas that extend from the city of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, west to the border with Saudi Arabia. The fluxes were estimated on the basis of water levels and hydraulic conductivities measured in wells and evaporation rates measured with a humidity chamber. In contrast with conceptual models proposed in earlier studies, groundwater inflow is estimated to be small, whereas the largest components of the water budget are recharge from rainfall and evaporation from the water table. Estimates within a rectilinear volume of sabkha, defined as 1 m wide by 10 km long by 10 m deep, indicate that about 1 m3/year of water enters and exits by lateral groundwater flow; 40-50 m3/year enters by upward leakage; and 640 m3year enters by recharge from rainfall. Based on the water and solute fluxes estimated for the upward leakage into the sabkha, 7-8 pore volumes of brine have entered the sabkha from below since the time the sabkha became saturated (7,000 years ago) as a result of the last global sea-level rise.
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Hydrology of the coastal sabkhas of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates