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Treated water good for fruit, vegetable cultivation: Study

27 Jan 2021

An in-depth local study on the use of treated water in cultivating seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as animal feed, has been successful in revealing that concentration of heavy metals was very low and within the international standards. 

The study that began in 2018 and continues until 2022, on the effect of treated water and biological fertilisers on seasonal plants, is funded and supervised by Haya Water. It is being conducted in cooperation with the Sultan Qaboos University represented by the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences. 

‘Stemming from its belief in the importance of preserving the environment and protecting groundwater sources from pollution and finding an alternative source of fresh water for agricultural and industrial uses, Haya Water is conducting a five-year study that includes an assessment of the soil irrigated with treated water, (apart from assessment of plants) in order to ensure that it is free of any elements that cause damage to the surrounding environment,’ stated Haya Water. 

In addition to financially supporting the project, the company is also heading the technical committee supervising the study. 

‘A research team was formed that includes a group of relevant parties to study aspects of the possible uses of treated water and the anticipated implications,’ it said, adding that ‘the team includes the Diwan of the Royal Court – the One Million Palm Tree Project, the Royal Court Affairs – the General Directorate of Royal Gardens and Farms, and Muscat Municipality’.

‘The results of the analysis revealed that all the measured heavy metals were very low in concentrations, while the rest of the elements are considered good as plant nutrients and are within the international standards of the Food and Agriculture Organization,’ stated the study.

It further revealed that the plants produced for animal feed, irrigated with treated water also had very low concentration of heavy metals. ‘The plants can be safely used for animal feed.’

Sulaiman bin Khamis al Qasmi, acting CEO of Haya Water, said that his organisation ‘is striving to expand the uses of treated water in order to preserve and sustain fresh water’. 

“The adoption of the study comes within the company’s interest in studies and research concerned with achieving food security in addition to achieving the company’s vision and mission to make Oman more green and healthier,” he added.

The study supervisor Dr Ahmed al Busaidi at the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences said, “Such projects have a constructive role in the use of all water resources, especially the non-traditional ones such as treated wastewater, and contributes to preserving fresh water for future generations. The results shown by this study support the exploitation of this water in the production of agricultural crops and provide it to the local and global markets.”

Dr Busaidi emphasised that Haya Water’s plans, strategies, quality of its treated water, and its support for this study underline the importance of ‘activating and promoting’ the use of this water in various fields, especially in agricultural ones and highlight the organisation’s role in achieving food security for the sultanate while preserving fresh water for other uses.

Haya Water is working to raise public awareness on the importance of using treated water and its role in achieving environmental balance, as part of its plan to increase the number of beneficiaries in line with the efforts led by the government in preserving the environment and public health.

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