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WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT IN OMAN - Solutions for Powered By Docstoc
					Sultanate of Oman
Ministry of Regional Municipalities & Water Resources

                            Dr. Aisha M. Al-Qurashi
                              Surface water Expert
               Directorate General of Water Resources Assessment
Geographical Location

             • Oman is located at the
             southeast tip of the Arabian
             Peninsula lying on the Arabian
             Sea and the Sea of Oman.

             • Oman covers a total area of
             approximately 309,500 km2.

             • The coastline extends for 3,165
             km in length.

             • The land area is composed of
             varying topographic features:
             valleys and desert account for
             82% of the land mass; mountain
             ranges, 15%; and the coastal
             plains, 3%.
               Climate and Hydrology
The Climate in the Sultanate of Oman varies from region to
another and from one season to another but can be divided mainly
into two seasons, namely:
• Winter: It begins in November and last until April. Average
temperatures are mild and pleasant, ranging between (20 - 28 0C) in
Muscat Governorate and varies slightly in other regions. In this season
the country is affected by thermal cycles which cause rainfall in the
eastern parts of the Sultanate.
• Summer: it extends from May to October, and temperature average
ranges between (27 - 37 0C) in Muscat Governorate, varying slightly in
other regions. During this season, the tropical climate moves to the
north towards the Arabian Peninsula, and the southwest monsoon
affects the far south of the country and the south-east. Dhofar Region
can be regarded as the exception, as it has a strong monsoon climate
and receives warm winds from the Indian Ocean
Rainfall Distribution in Oman
  Precipitation continued…

There are four major ecosystems causing rain in the Sultanate, which
can be summarized as follows:
• High air pressure caused by cold boundaries: It is common during winter
and early spring, where it leads to rain fairly constant in the northern parts of
the country, and scattered showers of rain in the central and south of the
• Tropical cyclones from the Arabian Sea : The thick cyclones originate over
the Arabian Sea and reach the Sultanate in an average of five years in Dhofar
and ten years in Muscat, and lead to heavy rains on the southern and eastern
shores of the Sultanate during the months of May and December.
• Seasonal coastal currents: These currents are common during the period
from June to September, associated with surface currents over the Arabian
Sea, where these currents are dominated by the south-west current, and may
be mixed partly with air current coming from the Gulf of Aden. As a result, the
summer in the Governorate of Dhofar is characterized by high humidity, a
decrease in the level of evaporation and fog during the months of June and
• Convectional Rainfall : This kind of rain is the result of the presence of local
convectional storms, which can occur at any time during the year.
Climate and Hydrology, Continued …

  • The high summer temperatures and low humidity in the interior
    region allow high evaporation conditions.
  • Daily evapotranspiration average exceeds 12 mm, while it drops in
    the coastal areas of Al Batinah and Salalah to reach less than 10
    mm per day, as a result of high humidity.
            Available Water Resources
1. Conventional Water Resources (represents 84%) and can be
divided into :
• Surface water resources:
    – Rainfall: the total average annual amount of rainfall is estimated
      at about 9,481 Million m3. About 80% of this quantity (7,585
      Million m3) is lost to evaporation.
    – Wadi Flows: During floods significant quantities of water (1,422
      Million m3) replenishes the shallow alluvial aquifer through direct
      recharge along the coarse wadi gravel and the gradual release
      of water from recharge dams. The remaining (474 Million m3) is
      lost to the sea.
    – Ghaili aflaj: which are based on the perennial flow in a wadi.
      These type of aflaj represent 48% of the total number of aflaj in
      the Sultanate.
    – Springs: Most of these springs are located in the mountainous
      areas. Springs on the northern side of the mountains discharge
      hot water and are used for therapeutic purposes
Conventional Water Resources, continued…

•   Groundwater resources:
       – Represents 94% of the available conventional water resources and
         can provide about (1,295 Million m3 /year) of water.
       – It is the most important source of available water in Oman and
         usually used through dug wells and Daoudi aflaj.
       – The geological characteristics of Oman regions play an important
         role in forming groundwater resources; therefore it differs in quality
         and quantity from a region to another.
       – exists in renewable alluvial aquifers (unconfined and shallow)
         recharged from infiltration of surface water flow along wadis.
       – The non renewable groundwater resources are found in relatively
         deep confined aquifers which receive little or no recharge.
Available water Resources
Use of Non-Conventional Water resources

It represents 6% and can be divided into :
•Desalination of Seawater and Brackish Water
•Wastewater Treatment and Reuse
•Treatment and Reuse of Oil Production Water
•Cloud seeding
Use of Non-Conventional Water resources
                Water Use in Oman
During the last ten years, the Sultanate witnessed a great transformation
in water uses. Consumption of water for industrial, commercial, municipal
and tourism increased by 300% times than normal rate from (86 Million
m3) in 1998 to (399 Million m3) in 2007. The increase is attributed to the
growing economic activities in all sectors in that period. The agricultural
sector is the main consumer of water with a consumption of about 78%
followed by the domestic uses (12%), the commercial, industrial and
municipal uses (6%), the environmental uses (3%) and livestock (1%).
                           Water Deficit

Available data indicate that the quantities of consumed water exceeds the
available resources by about (378 Million m3) per year.
  Water Resources Supply Management

These was carried out through:
     – Water Resources Monitoring
     – Water Resources Exploration and Assessment
     – Water Resources Development
Water Supply Management
1- Water Resources Monitoring

                                               Rain Stations                                                         Salinity
        Region     Wadi     Flo    dam               Automatic      Well       Afla   Springs   lagoon    Well     Wel    Fala   Sum
                   planet    w      s                            measurement    j                 s      drainag    l       j
                     s      peak                                      s                                     e
                    16       6      1      5             24         173        70       5         0        0       45      75    420
        AlBatina    21       1      9      0             35         123        72       16        0        0       22      72    371
        AlBatina    28      10      5     17             25         228        24       0         0        0       38      24    399
        Musanda      6       0      5      5             9           88         1       0         0        0        0       1    115
       AlBuraimi     7       1      1      4             10         242        18       0         0        0        9      18    310
       AlDhahira    11       0      1      9             21         274        70       0         0        0       25      70    481
       AlDakhili    18       1      7     10             23         341        113      6         6        0       71      119   709
       AlShariya    13       3      0      3             41         206        116      0         0        40      15      116   553
       AlSharqia     5       4      1      0             16         183        40       0         0        0       32      40    321
        AlWusta      0       0      0      2             0           24         0       0         0        0        0       0    26
        AlNajd       4       0      0      6             17          55         0       0         0        0       96       0    178
        Salalah      6       0      1     18             15         170         0       37       11       139      353     48    798
         Sum        135     26     31     79            236         2107       524      64       11       179      706     538   468
                                         315                                                                       1289
Water Supply Management
2- Water Resources Exploration and Assessment

Water resources exploration and assessment programs have been
implemented in various areas and governorates of the Sultanate during
the past decades. These programs led to the discovery of a number of
groundwater aquifers which allowed the implementation of water supply
schemes, the most important of which are:
• Al Masarrat Project
• Ash'Sharqiah Project
• Wadi Al Maawil Project
• Project of Wadi Rawnab in Al Wusta Region
• Al Najd
Water Supply Management
3- Water Resources Development

•   The Government of the Sultanate of Oman is exerting great efforts to develop water
    resources in order to meet the increasing water demands resulting from the
    successful, economical, industrial and social development the various fields. Several
    programs related to water resources development have been implemented among

•   Dams:
      - Recharge Dams: The main purpose of these dams is to enhance groundwater
         storage through getting use of valleys flood water which is often wasted in sea
         and desert. The number of recharge dams that have been constructed during the
         period from 1985-2001 are (39).
    - Flood Protection Dams: There are (14) dams are being constructed in Muscat and
    Musandam Governorate to protect occupants of downstream areas from flood risks
    and can be used for recharge when ever possible.

•   Rainwater harvesting:
     – Small retention dams
     – Cisterns
     – Quarry pits
Water Resources Development
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar

 In order to solve the problems related to water shortage, the Government
 studied the implementation of several techniques, among them is the rain
 water harvesting.

 Jabal Al-Ahdar is one of the mountainous remote area that located in
 Northern Oman. It is a unique area and known for its spectaculars scenery
 and it comprises an important historical heritage and cultural treasures.

 Even though, the mean annual rainfall is about 300 mm which is higher than
 other parts in Oman, the areas suffers from natural water resources. The
 rugged terrain with steep mountain slopes which can retain little rainfall water
 and the bigger part infiltrates into rock fractures or it drains off directly to the
 foothills where it reaches the aquifers of the adjoining plains.
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar
Water Situation in Jabal Al-Akhdar

  •   Water is supplied by aflaj which are fed by springs or underground mother
  •   Currently, the water demand is rising due to the natural increase in
      population and improvement of the standard of living, new wells with
      additional water abstractions for non agricultural purposes that affected
      the aflaj system, beside the rainfall pattern where the average rainfall has
      decreased in the last few years.
  •   Water shortage caused the abandonment of some farms and believed to
      has some effects on the soil
  •   The limitation of the existing water supply facilities is believed to have
      some effects restricting population growth.
  •   Shortage of water, which occurred occasionally, forced people to ration
      their water provisions, to obtain water from distant sources, or migrate to
      other villages or to abandon their settlements
Jabal Al-Akhdar
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar
Different Studies on Possible Solutions
 To support the locals in the mountainous areas and to provide a sufficient
 basis that allows them to continue their traditional way of life with respect and
 retain of the social structure of settlements, while profiting from modern
 achievements, the government had made great efforts to study the best ways
 and techniques. Hence, many studies were carried out in the area to study the
 situation and possible solutions for solving water resources shortage

 The Main Studies that were carried out can be briefed below:
 • In 1989 a reconnaissance survey and study of water resources in the Jabla
 Akhdar was carried, “Development of Water Resources for Agricultural Use in
 Jabal Akhdar”. The report identifies a number of ways in which the water
 supply facilities of region could be improved.
 • In 1990, a study was carried out,’ Jebal Akhdar, 64 Hydraulic Structures”.
 The study aimed to evaluate the potential for improving the water supply
 resources of a number of settlements, principally in the higher reaches of the
 Jabal Akhdar, for which retention dams were listed as the preferred option.
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar
Different Studies on Possible Solutions

    In 1999, The Ministry carried out s Feasibility Study for Flood water
       Harvesting Techniques in Oman to:
    – Identify, study, evaluate, rank, and recommend suitable sites of disused quarry
      pits as recharge pits and sites for other flood water harvesting techniques
      suitable in Oman. Eight water assessment regions were comprised
    – Spate irrigation system were also studied
    – Injection wells, recharge shafts were also suggested with recommendation of
      further studies
    – Economic analysis, Socio-economic and environmental aspects, operation and
      maintenance aspects, and ranking and prioritization of quarry pits, were all
      considered in this study

      The study concluded that 11 quarry out of the 45 that were studied were
      considered as viable recharge pits (infiltration ponds) in Oman
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar
Possible Solutions
The survey and studies indicated that the most efficient way for water
augmentation is the construction of retention dams for the following reasons:
    – Artificial recharge is not feasible in the higher reaches of Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar due
       to the non existence of suitable aquifer
    – Natural groundwater storage and transport occurs mainly in rock fractures and
       this source of already used by the traditional water supply systems such as aflaj
    – Only retention dams were found to be not affecting adversely the existing water
       supply systems
    – It is a traditional and well known method in Jabal Al-Akhdar and therefore, fully
       accepted by the villagers without unwanted social impacts on the communities
    – Agricultural villages can use the natural stored water for irrigation through aflaj
       system and the stored water by the retention dams for domestic use, livestock,
       and expanding agriculture activities
    – The stored surface water allows for preserving the high quality spring water for
       drinking purposes only which will help in counteract the trend of increasing well
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar
Construction of Small Storage Dams

 As a results of the above mentioned water resources situation in Jabal Al-
Akhdar, fifty small storage dams were constructed in Al Jabal Al-Akhdar to
provide and develop water resources of village occupants and population
spread near wadi channels, and remote mountain areas which suffer from lack
of water resources.

• The project comprised the storage dams, pipelines to the villages and farms,
and small service reservoirs or water tanks

• Local material were used when ever is possible, using donkeys to transport
them to the site, otherwise helicopters were used to transport the material as
only few sites have been accessible by vehicles.
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar
Small Storage Dams
Rainwater Harvesting in Jabal Al-Akhdar
Small Storage Dams
  Rainwater Harvesting in other Remote Areas

• The success of the construction of small dams in Jabal Al-Akhdar let
  to construct similar small surface storage dams in different areas of
  the Sultanate to provide water for agricultural and livestock use.
• A total of 90 small dams were constructed in Oman with a total
  capacity of (137.9) Million m3;
   – 6 dams in Jabal Kor
   – 5 dams in Jabla Surat
   – 4 in Dhofar Governorate
   – 2 in Jabal Al-Abyadh
   – 3 in the mountainous areas in Ibri
   – 3 in Rustaq
Other Storage Dams

Wadi Dayqah Dam : The largest concrete storage dam in the Arabian
peninsula. The maximum storage capacity of this dam is 100 Million m3. The
expected yearly yield is in the order of 35 Million m3 to augment priority
domestic supply in the Capital Area (20 Million m3/year) and to provide the
Wilayat of Qurayat with both domestic and irrigation water supplies (15 Million
m3 /year).
       Other Rainwater Harvesting Techniques

•   Birkats or Cisterns: it is a traditional system of water harvesting that is
    designed to collect and store rainfall – generated flows.
•   It comprises an excavated chamber or naturally occurring hallow structure.
    For centuries the utilization of birkats has been vital for the survivals and
    development of many remote settlements in the Musandam peninsula
    where they serve as the only source of water to meet domestic and
    livestock requirements.
•   The government decided to maintain the cisterns as they are important in
    enhancing the water resources in Musandam.
•   An inventory of these cisterns was undertaken in Musandam Governorate
    with a view to establishing location, assessing structure status and water
    use, and determining maintenance requirements together with estimated
    cost. A total of 967 cisterns were located, where 80% were found
•   The Government decided to aid in maintaining theses cisterns through
    providing the required materials to the owners of these cisterns
•   About 147 cisterns were maintained in Bukha, 225 in Daba, and 595 in
    Khasab, were maintained in the last few years.
Other Rainwater Harvesting Techniques
Birkats or Cisterns
                Water Demand Management

 Water-demand management consists of all activities to increase efficiency in
water supply and water usage and promote water recycling.
• Incentives will be given to agricultural activities using modern irrigation
systems, industries that practice water reuse since they contribute directly to
water-demand management and to the reduction of effluents.
• New housing, commercial and industrial estates shall be fitted with water-
saving devices, including rainwater harvesting devices.

In order to insure the success of water demand management strategy in Oman
three major projects aiming at the evaluation of water use and the development
of water resources database in Oman were undertaken. These are:
• The national well inventory project:
• The Aflaj inventory project:
• The hydrogeological maps project:
      The Way Foreword in Water Resources
The main issues to achieve these principles are:
• Balancing water uses to water availability
• Adopting improved irrigation techniques and selecting appropriate crops to
reduce agricultural water use
• Managing water resources effectively and efficiently
• Increasing the use of treated wastewater and desalinated water
• Minimizing water pollution, flood damages and drought consequences
• Provision of sufficient water to spur and sustain economic
• Provision of access to safe, adequate and affordable water supply, hygiene
and sanitation
• Protecting the groundwater resources in qualitative and quantitative terms
• Creating and cultivating conservation awareness;
• Establishing an integrated program for the conservation and management of
the resources at basin level
• Controlling saline intrusion by reducing abstraction below the long-term
• Controlling urban water losses
• Using Rainwater harvesting techqniques for remote areas when ever possible
Thank You

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