Muscat – With an aim to develop sustainable irrigation system in Oman, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources (MAFWR) is establishing solar energy stations to operate water pumps in Buraimi governorate.
The solar energy project, which is being developed as an alternative to conventional electric energy, is part of the programme to develop Falji al Buraimi and Sa’ra afla in Buraimi at a cost of over RO1.6mn.
Eng Nasser Ali al Marshodi, director, Directorate General of Agricultural, Fisheries and Water Resources in Buraimi, said, “The ministry provides Falji al Buraimi and Sa’ra with a network of modern irrigation systems to improve the management of irrigation water there and to increase the agricultural area, which will lead to an increase in agricultural productivity.”
The work is currently underway, in cooperation with the private sector, to establish five solar energy stations to operate water pumps from 41 auxiliary wells that supply the two villages with water, he added.
According to Marshodi, the project consists of three main parts, including underground tanks – of different capacities – for collecting falaj water, a control room with equipment and devices for operating the modern irrigation system, and an irrigation network that consists of valves, pipes, fountains, and sprinklers for irrigating crops.
“Falji al Buraimi and Sa’ra extend over an area of 400 acres (162 hectares approx) and includes 27,833 palm trees. It is expected to be completed before the end of this year.”
In the future, he said the ministry will develop the facade of the two aflaj, and construct new covered water channels of 4,000m in length.
The ministry will also improve and clean the aflaj canals to stimulate tourism, promote social and economic development, and improve health and environmental aspects.
“It will continue to preserve the water sources of the aflaj, introduce modern technologies in irrigation systems, and replace the perennial palm trees with high-yielding varieties,” said Marshodi.