We sought to assess the impact on groundwater of using three types of saline waters to irrigate the halophyte Salicornia bigelovii Torrey in the hyper-arid United Arab Emirates. These were groundwater (GW) at 25 dS m−1, reverse-osmosis brine (RO) from a desalination unit at 40 dS m−1, and the aquabrine (AQ) effluent from land-based aquaculture in tanks filled with RO brine, also at 40 dS m−1. The three waters were applied through bubblers (BUB), pressure-compensated drippers (PCD), or subsurface irrigation tape (SUB). The yields of Salicornia fresh tips, harvest forage, and seed were greatest for AQ applied through BUB, being 650 g m−2. We found 2–2.6 kg m−2 for dry forage yield with AQ through BUB, compared with 1–2.3 kg m−2 for the other waters and emitter devices. The highest water productivities WPI (kg m−3) across all three crop-outputs came from Aquabrine applied by pressure-compensated drippers. We assessed the gross economic water productivity (GEWPI, $ m−3) based solely on gross revenue. The GEWPI was highest for AQ applied through PCD and SUB, namely 5.8–6.2 $ m−3. The value derives primarily from fresh tips. The GEWPl was well above the cost of desalination at $1.5 m−3. We measured drainage and leaching using fluxmeters. The greatest salt load to groundwater came from BUB, being 135–195 kg m−2. For PCD and SUB it was between 14 and 36 kg m−2. Mass-balance calculations of these salt loadings can predict the impact on the saline quality of aquifers. We used an exemplar loading of 75 kg m−2, and results in an annual salinity rise of 2.6 dS m−1 y−1 for an aquifer of saturated depth of 100 m. This significant rate of rise in the salinity of groundwater would represent a continuing deterioration in the utility of groundwater.