Groundwater levels rise in parts of Muscat

MUSCAT: The groundwater levels have risen in some areas of Muscat Governorate, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources has said. A study conducted by the ministry in cooperation with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) found an “accumulation of surface water” in some areas of the governorate, especially Ansab and Darsait. The ministry and SQU have been observing for a while the water level rise in some areas of Muscat Governorate (Ansab, Al Amerat, the area around Muscat International Airport, Al Khuwair and Darsait). Results of the introductory report of the scientific study indicate the groundwater often accumulates in the wadi sediments near coast, in wadi streams and solid rocks.

The groundwater levels in the upper reserve areas of Al Amerat are at a depth of 10-20 metres and in the lower reserve areas at 1-5 metres. In Al Khoudh and areas around Muscat airport, it is at 5-55 metres. The study aims at determining water sources in these areas besides understanding the change in chemistry of groundwater to know the sources of pollution. The study has been assessing the impact of natural and human factors on the rise in groundwater levels. The first phase of the project includes field visits to study and record geology, hydrogeology and terrain in these areas.

It also includes collection of data on wells, rainfall hydrology and aflaj flow as well as quantum of water drawn from wells. In the second phase, samples will be taken from surrounding wells in the study areas, wastewater stations, public water networks and irrigation systems. The ministry has been conducting chemical and biological analyses of the environmental isotopes in water to determine their sources. The study also includes installing of devices to observe changes in the groundwater level and conducting mathematical modelling to assess the current status of water in the area. The study will also consist of drilling of monitoring wells, if required, to determine the type of soil, geological layers and characteristics of hydrogeological layers.