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Shaheen's impact on groundwater levels


Groundwater is the primary source of water in Oman. Other sources are desalinated and treated water.

Water experts in Oman see Shaheen as a source that can improve the availability of water in Oman.

According to experts, groundwater represents about 94 per cent of the available conventional water resources in the country.

“Shaheen is a major event since we have been going through a long drought. For many years we have not had heavy rain like this. This amount of rainfall we have received will improve the storage of the aquifer for the groundwater. We have already seen the aflaj flowing much more than before, and this is directly after the rain. This also indicates the level of groundwater is increasing,” said Zahir al Sulaimani, Chairman of Oman Water Society.

Groundwater is the primary source for agriculture and domestic water supply and is mainly provided by wells and aflaj.

According to him, the increase of the groundwater level will improve the situation in the areas where saline water intrusion has been experienced. Al Batinah coast has been dealing with this problem for years now.

“This rain and floodwater in Batinah will push back the salty water to the sea. So we expect the good impact on the groundwater and most of the dams on the coast does store water, and this will help in the recharging of the aquifer,” explained the Oman Water Society Chairman.

Al Batinah has always been known for farms and agricultural practice, however, the over-abstraction from wells had resulted in the decline of groundwater level.

It also further increased seawater intrusion, especially in the coastal area of Batinah. So the rainfall and floodwater could prove to be a solution to the problem.

The wadis by nature rush to the sea, so was water lost?

According to Zahir, the water would have been retained, “We would have managed to retain because there are three operating dams in Al Amerat and they have captured good quantities of water. This will increase the storage of water in Al Amerat area.

Al Khod had an overflow, so there is plenty of water there, too, as well as Seeb. All the other areas like Rostaq, Barka, Khabourah, Suwaiq and Suhar have many dams and have received plenty of water. Of course, we would have lost water to the sea too, but it is natural because we cannot capture every drop, but the dams have retained a lot of water,” pointed out Zahir.

He quickly points out that although we have water, one should not forget to conserve water and use it wisely.

“Don’t be in a hurry to go for picnics because some wadis are still wet and some are still flowing with big amount of water, so they should take care of children when they are in these areas ensuring safety of people’s lives,” noted Zahir.

There are five dams in Muscat, South Batinah has 10, North Al Batinah has four and Dhahira, North and South Sharqiya have one each. Among them, Wadi Dayka in Muscat retained the highest amount of water from Shaheen with 82 million cubic meters, in Dakhiliyah Wadi Tameed in Bidbid retained 0.100 million cubic meters, in South Al Batinah the highest amount was recorded in the Wadi al Falaj Dam in Barka with 3.7 million cubic meters, in North Al Batinah - Wadi al Howasina and Bani Omar recorded 3.7 million cubic meters, Dhahira - Wadi al Kabeer in Ibri recorded .50 million cubic meters, South Al Sharqiyah - Wadi Wariya in Mudhaibi recorded 0.46 million cubic meters and in North Al Sharqiyah - Al Himaya in Sur 9.8 million cubic meters were recorded.

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