The UAE has no dearth of stunning man-made attractions that pay tribute to and let you see nature – from the Guinness World Record-breaking Dubai Miracle Gardens to the walkway that runs through the natural Jubail Mangrove Park.
And nature lovers will be thrilled to hear that there’s a new attraction in the pipeline – one that might be open to visitors in the near future.
Qatra Water Solutions, which manages, operates and expands wastewater treatment in Al Saja’a, has developed a man-made lake habitat in Sharjah that is approximately 2.5 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide.
The site now provides habitat to more than 26 bird species, such as ferruginous ducks and the little grebe, and has become a stopover for migrating birds. It also hosts a range of species of dragonflies, butterflies, beetles, wasps, ants and more.
Meanwhile, the lakes’ sandy banks provides habitat for reeds, grasses, and large shrubs. Those behind the project hope to see more species flourish in the months to come.
The lakes are private at the moment as they are “too wild for pedestrian access”. However, there is talk of opening it up to the public in the future. “In the coming months, we will work to enhance it, so visits can be organised for schools. Our plan is to build a walkway around the lakes for easy access to visitors.”
The creation of the series of lakes, located around its Al Saja'a wastewater plant, began with the construction of the plant in 2015, with the intention of storing treated water by pushing sand with bulldozers and bringing in a pipeline.
“At first, these lakes were created for a technical necessity; Al Saja’a wasterwater plant is located inland and too far away to dispose of the clean water to the sea,” says Gurvan Dersel, general manager at Qatra Water Solutions.
“But over time, unexpected and exceptional wildlife developed by itself, without any intervention. It became clear it was more important and served a greater purpose. So its role has now been transformed to an environmental one in the area.”
In 2018, additional lakes were added with a more environment-friendly design, including shallow water, to attract more birds. There are now 10 lakes in the area.
According to Dersel, it took a year before it started to really become green, and now they see fauna visiting regularly. “The habitat has also attracted many endangered and migrant species that are extremely rare for this region,” he adds.
“We are letting nature do its job. Without any intervention, just by storing the treated water in an open environment, we have contributed to growing a habitat for different species. Working towards a greener earth should be an important project for every organisation and individual. When you see all this wildlife in front of your eyes, in total peace with no human disturbance, the serenity is reward enough for maintaining these lakes,” says Dersel.
More information on the wildlife is available at www.qatra.ae/lakes-and-wildlife/