Makkah – :
Umm Alqura for Development and Construction (UAQ), owner and master developer of the Masar destination in Makkah, has set a new industry benchmark in maintaining the sustainability, flow, and composition of groundwater in the Kingdom by employing the latest scientific and technical treatments. UAQ devoted particular attention to groundwater before implementing infrastructure works for Masar, which features multiple pathways, by taking all geological aspects into consideration in coordination with the Saudi Geological Survey.
UAQ was committed to maintaining the safety, sustainability, and preservation of groundwater and avoiding obstructing it’s pathways in the Ibrahim, Al Otaiba, and Al Asher valleys in implementing its infrastructure works. The company has employed the latest scientific and technical treatments to ensure the sustainability of the volume of groundwater without hindering its pathways with construction foundations or affecting the chemical and biological composition and physical properties of the groundwater.
UAQ’s Chief Of Studies & Development Department Eng. Waleed Baghanem, explained that UAQ designed a system for transporting groundwater through Al Asher and Al Otaiba valleys. He noted that the system includes water collection points, layers of cumulative filters, networks of perforated water pipes, and a subsystem for washing the main network to maintain the efficiency of groundwater transport. UAQ also set up a system for monitoring groundwater flow to track the estimation of water quantities, percentages, and quality during different points in time.
Baghanem added that this system works below and around the project’s infrastructure to ensure a smooth flow of water from the project’s northern borders through the infrastructure facilities all the way to the southern borders of the project until the point of contact with Ibrahim valley. This system maintains the sustainability, pathways, and composition of the groundwater without disturbing the environmental balance that existed before work commenced on Masar.
In developing this system, UAQ relied on a study conducted for around one hundred years to show how water moved underground in Makkah and at the most extreme altitudes. Based on this study, the company set a plan so the project would not affect the pathways of groundwater or its vital characteristics. The Saudi Geological Survey also suggested establishing a rain monitoring system to obtain rainfall data and calculate the amount of rainwater on the roofs of buildings and transport it to underground networks from one side to the other through the infrastructure facilities of Masar.
The plan approved the presence of 4×16-meter water pathways under each building in the project more than three kilometers long. The width of the pathway allows for the passage of the largest amount of water.
The contractual documents stipulated full cooperation with the Saudi Geological Survey before starting the project since it determines the structural system for construction foundations. The center uses advanced digital modeling technologies to obtain an interactive three-dimensional image to identify the interrelation between the project’s foundation and the movement of groundwater in the site to reduce negative hydrogeological effects that may arise and to neutralize the cumulative effect on groundwater sources. This is done by taking the most successful precautions that can be implemented in each site separately to limit the impacts, in addition to determining the levels and quality of foundations, methods of implementation, and materials used to serve the sustainability of resources.