Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Shawwal 6, 1445 H
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Rains recharge ‘aflaj’ canals


With rain in several wilayats of the Sultanate of Oman, the weather has become exceptionally good and aflaj are recharged here and there.

Some aflaj are overflowing while many others have subsided making the areas cool and attracting many visitors.

The rains have given hope to the farmers for a better agricultural season and enhanced commercial activity in local markets.

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"The sight of water in the canals has aroused enthusiasm and joy among the farmers. Harvesting season has almost come and these rain drops accumulated in the canals are precious for the standing as well as future crops, as they are sufficient to irrigate them for the whole year," a farmer from the Wilayat of Al Amerat, Jahlot village, said.

Aflaj are water channels that run throughout the year. They descend in streams like waterfalls and penetrate the plateaus and plains covering wide areas.

Studies indicate that 90 per cent of the rainwater is deposited between the rocky layers in water pockets that continuously feed aflaj. The aflaj system is based primarily on the liquefaction of underground water to places that are higher than the accumulated water sites. It requires a perfect technique, which was known to Omanis in the olden days.

Water flows into the medium-sized aflaj at a rate of nine gallons per second. This quantity of water is sufficient to irrigate large areas of agricultural land.

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People in some areas depend mainly on aflaj water, whether for domestic uses or for watering trees. The aflaj originated some 2,500 years ago, and the first stage of its construction begins with choosing the right place that has sufficient underground water reserves. Then two wells are drilled, the first of which is at the front or source of the aflaj, while the second hole is constructed in a sloping place, with a degree of slope that helps the aflaj canal to continue the flow of water. A hole is dug every twenty metres using traditional tools, after which the water begins to flow naturally without the use of mechanical means.

After the completion of the water canal construction project, the water shares are divided equally among the beneficiaries of this water. There is a supervisory body, which follows up the method of water distribution and the maintenance of the aflaj.

Omani aflaj have been classified in the World Heritage List, which is an indication of the geological and historical importance of these water channels, which depend entirely on traditional irrigation. Therefore, the official authorities in the Sultanate of Oman maintain these aflaj periodically, to preserve the engineering wonder of ancient Oman for future generations.


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