The construction and operation of more than a hundred recharge dams and water reservoirs by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR) has borne fruit as it has successfully improved the underground water table and helped maintain a continuous flow of water in aflaj, thereby improving the livelihood of farmers.
Besides, the ministry has also recovered the cost of the projects in a short time from the quantity of water provided by recharge and storage dams.
This was cited in an opening address by Eng Salem bin Hamid A'Shibli, director general of water resources assessment, MRMWR, at a recent three-day conference on water harvesting and groundwater recharging in the Arab world held in Muscat.
Organised by the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD) in collaboration with MRMWR and the Oman Water Society, the conference saw the participation of experts from 17 countries.
Shibli said that recharge and reservoir dams are considered one of the pioneering technologies in the process of water harvesting and underground water recharging. This is why the ministry has constructed 43 recharge dams and 90 other dams for surface water storage across Oman. Wadi Dayqah Dam is considered one of the largest water projects in the Arab world. The ministry has also built two dams for protection against floods – in Wadi Adai, Amerat, and in Salalah.
He said, “Following the operation of these dams, the desired goals have been achieved and the cost has been recovered by the amount of water these projects have provided. Other advantages include reducing the intrusion of salty water underground and increasing underground water recharging. The water in aflaj has increased. Storage dams have improved the livelihood of those living in mountains, thereby preventing their migration.”
Dr Tariq al Zadjali, director of AOAD, said that the water security issue is important for the Arabian region as it has been forecast that rainfall will substantially reduce in the coming 50 years in the region.