Major scheme: Preliminary design to be completed by this year-end
Conrad Prabhu –
Dec 7: The Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) is finalising an ambitious plan to pump potable water produced at Sohar’s seawater desalination complex on Oman’s east coast all the way to consumers in Dhahirah Governorate in the west of the Sultanate.
The project — one of a slew of strategic water distribution schemes being pursued by the Authority — will allow for desalinated water to be supplied to Ibri and other towns in Dhahirah Governorate, supplanting groundwater supply for the first time.
The mammoth scheme — one of the largest currently on hand — will deliver an estimated 450,000 cubic metres of potable water annually to major towns and population centres across the governorate.
Preliminary design work on the pipeline based water delivery system is expected to be completed by the end of this year, paving the way for the tendering of contracts linked to its implementation shortly thereafter.
At the core of the giant scheme is a backbone transmission line which, along with subsidiary distribution lines, will run a total length of around 225 kilometres. Integrated with this system will be four booster pumps, as well as nine hydraulic accumulators (pressure storage reservoirs), necessary to transmit the water over this great distance.
The project is in line with the government’s strategy to phase out groundwater abstraction as a source of potable water, and to depend almost entirely on seawater desalination for the nation’s water requirements. New capacity under development at Sohar will help meet the additional demand when Dhahirah Governorate is added to the water grid tentatively by the year 2020, according to officials.
Also making headway are plans for the construction of a similar backbone transmission line between desalination hubs in Sohar and Barka. The linkage will kick in the event of any production disruption at Sohar or Barka, and Muscat as well. The new transmission line is expected to be operational before the end of 2018.
Elsewhere across its countrywide network, PAEW is studying the feasibility of laying a similar transmission line linking South and North Al Sharqiyah governorates. The pipeline link will allow for desalinated potable water to be transmitted from Sur, where new desalination capacity is currently under development, to these governorates. Supply to these governorates will be augmented when a proposed green-field Independent Water Project is brought into operation in the Wilayat of Jaalan Bani Bu Ali by around the year 2020.