Sharjah Ruler inaugurates lake project to combat floods and boost tourism

Situated on the Sharjah-Kalba Road within the city of Kalba, Al Hefaiyah lake covers an expanse of 132,000 square metres

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Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, on Saturday inaugurated a vast lake in the emirate which aims to protect against flood threats while also being a major tourism attraction.

Al Hefaiyah Lake, on the Sharjah-Kalba Road in the city of Kalba, spans 132,000 square metres and will act as a strategic water reservoir.

It has a capacity of 155 million gallons and a depth of up to four metres. The lake features a 3.2km conduit to bring water in from the lowlands and the surrounding mountains.

The lake will be a crucial tool in Sharjah's efforts to boost its defences against flooding, which is prevalent in mountainous areas such as those found in the emirate and the rest of the Northern Emirates.

Sharjah has been hit hard by flash floods caused by heavy rain across the country in recent years.

In August 2022, the Ruler of Sharjah ordered that Dh50,000 be given to every family forced to leave their homes during flooding caused by the heaviest rainfall to hit the country in 30 years.

Tourism drive

Al Hefaiyah Lake project will also support Sharjah's ambitious drive to cement Kalba as a leading tourism attraction.

The environmental scheme includes the Al Hefaiyah Rest House, which boasts direct views of the lake and Kalba's impressive mountain range, with hanging gardens and waterfalls on one side and an 8,500-square-metre play area and green space on the other.

The building has a covered outdoor courtyard and houses a restaurant and cafe.

Sheikh Dr Sultan was joined at the inauguration of the key infrastructure project by Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, and Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler.

On his arrival, the Sharjah Ruler unveiled a plaque to commemorate the opening of the lake.

He was greeted by children taking part in colourful dance performances in celebration of the inauguration.

He witnessed a number of sporting and maritime competitions and was shown marine boats which will be used by visitors to cruise across the waters.

Sheikh Dr Sultan later opened Al Hefaiyah Mosque, which can accommodate 495 worshippers, and led crowds in maghrib prayers.

The new place of worship covers 852 square metres and has been designed with decorated with geometric and floral themes.

It features a 36-metre-tall minaret, a women's prayer hall for 110 worshippers, an outdoor courtyard for 2,040 worshippers and an Islamic library.

The Sharjah Ruler concluded his visit by enjoying a dazzling drone show which lit up the skies with images of Kalaba's major attractions and new projects.

Efforts to transform Kalba into a tourism and culture hub were announced in 2022 and are rapidly taking shape.

This year the emirate's ruler approved a Dh40.83 billion ($11.12 billion) budget for 2024, the largest in its history.

This month, Sheikh Dr Sultan opened Sharjah's long-awaited Hanging Gardens of Kalba, also on Sharjah-Kalba Road.

The gardens have an area of about 15 hectares and more than 100,000 trees.

Updated: March 31, 2024, 11:31 AM