Muscat – The sultanate is adopting significant measures to enhance preparedness against flash floods and devise emergency plans for all governorates across the country.
To prepare for climate related emergencies, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources floated a series of consultancy service tenders recently to update and prepare flood hazard maps, along with flood risk management and emergency plans for North Sharqiyah, South Sharqiyah, Al Wusta, Dakhliyah, Dhahirah, Buraimi, Musandam, Dhofar and Muscat.
The purpose of these flood hazard maps is to identify and illustrate geographical areas at varying levels of risk from potential floods.
Oman’s low-lying urban areas along the coast are vulnerable to flooding from the combined impact of sea-level rise and storm surge associated with extreme weather events. Furthermore, 45% of Muscat is vulnerable to wadi floods and 20% to coastal floods.
‘It is crucial to design these maps to meet the specific needs of end-users, ensuring effective communication of the complex messages associated with flooding and flood risk,’ the ministry stated detailing the scope of work.
The maps will showcase areas susceptible to flooding, categorised into low, medium and high probabilities. These will provide essential information such as flood type, extent of flooding, water depth, flow velocity and water flow direction.
The project involves three phases to achieve the desired outcomes. Phase A focuses on rainfall and flow data analysis, studying existing analyses and preparing intensity, duration, frequency (IDF) for each governorate.
Additionally, a flood design manual will be developed, utilising recorded data for a comprehensive understanding of rainfall-runoff correlations in each catchment.
Phase B encompasses flood mapping, where consultants will evaluate flood risks using appropriate techniques. This involves hydrological analysis to define the primary wadi channels and their flow during floods of different intensity.
In Phase C, flood risk management and emergency plans will be formulated, which will outline objectives of flood risk management in the affected areas and propose measures to achieve these, besides identifying flood buffer areas along wadi channels and provide recommendations for emergency protocols during severe events.
Furthermore, the ministry is prioritising the review and supervision of construction of Wadi al Ansab flood protection dams in the wilayat of Bausher. ‘These dams will play a crucial role in the overall flood protection of Al Ansab.’
Additionally, the ministry is focusing on updating the water balance computation for the entire sultanate. The objective is to determine the water balance using an appropriate methodology, considering factors such as rainfall, wadi flow, groundwater recharge, surface and groundwater inflow/outflow, evaporation, storage depletion, saline/sea water intrusion, water loss and artificial recharge to groundwater aquifers.
The project aims to establish an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the water balance within each water assessment unit area, contributing to effective water resource management across the country.