Arriyadh Development Authority

Wetland restoration and biodiversity enhancement, Al Ha’ir Lakes, Saudi Arabia

The brief

The Wadi Hanifah is a natural watercourse and wetland with flows supplemented by groundwater and discharge from Riyadh. The area, having been undervalued in the past, was subject to a restoration and enhancement programme. The Al Ha’ir Lakes, located to the south of Riyadh, were a significant part of the restoration and enhancement programme. The Lakes cover a combined area of approximately 35ha and are ‘in-line’ with flows from the Wadi Hanifah entering the Lakes at the upstream end, then passing through the lakes and leaving at the downstream end via a second weir.

We were commissioned to advise on ecological issues for the project, including potential ecological enhancement options and likely ecological effects.

What we did

  • We conducted a thorough review of documentation for the project, including plans of the Al Ha’ir lakes and previous reports.
  • Our experienced team undertook a site visit to gain an in-depth understanding of the Wadi Hanifah system. Observations of the flora and fauna were made, as well as of the water quality.
  • Following the documentation review and site visit, an assessment of the biodiversity potential under various scenarios was made.
  • Water quality and depth scenarios were evaluated and we advised on the likely effect of these on lake ecology.
  • Current designs and water regimes were assessed in order to ascertain whether biodiversity potential could be achieved or not.

The outcome

We suggested various methods for enhancing the biodiversity value of the lakes. Shallower water, vegetated banks and the formation of reedbeds and scrub were found to produce higher biodiversity potential. Seasonal pools and wadis were also found to provide enhanced biodiversity potential, as this is the natural habitat of the area. The utilisation of sediment traps, an effective monitoring system and water diversion capabilities were also suggested to maintain higher water quality.

Our services
Environmental consultancy services covering all ecosystems

We cover all aspects of environmental consultation – from smaller surveys through to strategic projects.

Our culture and values
Our culture and R.I.S.E. values help bind us together as a business

At Thomson, we strive to deliver a pragmatic and innovative approach to environmental compliance.

Working in partnership with our clients, our team of environmental specialists ensures objectives are met, with maximum efficiency for our clients, and minimal impact on the natural world.

Projects Wetland restoration and biodiversity enhancement, ...