Times of Oman
Aflaj upkeep to help sustainable development of Oman's North Al Batinah
August 12, 2017 | 9:15 PM
by ONA
The project was funded by the Jusoor Foundation and its founding companies (Sohar Aluminum, Orpic and Vale), in recognition by officials at these institutions of the importance of Aflaj and the preservation of this system, which is a characteristic of the Sultanate. Photo-ONA
 
Sharelines

Sohar: Within the framework of the partnership between the Government and the private sector, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, represented by the Directorate General of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in the Governorate of North Al Batinah has maintained some of the Aflaj or "ancient irrigation system or water channels" in the governorate.

The project was funded by the Jusoor Foundation and its founding companies (Sohar Aluminum, Orpic and Vale), in recognition by officials at these institutions of the importance of Aflaj and the preservation of this system, which is a characteristic of the Sultanate. As a result, maintenance work was done for the Al Jil, and Al Qabayel Aflaj in the Wilayat of Sohar and in Al Sabakh in the Wilayat of Liwa. Work at three Aflaj has been completed.

Ali bin Hamad al-Ghufaili, director of Water Resources Affairs at the Directorate General of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in the Governorate of North Al Batinah, said: "These projects are part of the promotion and improvement of water resource management. The Ministry appreciates the efforts of the Jusoor Foundation and its companies to finance these projects. It hopes that financial support continues in other municipal and water projects to serve the public interest.”

He added that Aflaj in the Sultanate is considered one of the major traditional water sources on which Omanis have depended for irrigation of their various plants. They depend on them as one of the most important sources of living. The types of Aflaj vary, according to the nature of the geological and hydrological aspect of valleys and mountains in the Sultanate, including the "Gaily" Aflaj, which depend on the surface and sub-surface waters of valleys, the "Ainiya" Aflaj, which rely on hot or cold springs, as well as the "Dawoodi Aflaj," which depend on groundwater from subterranean aquifers, that are more than 40 metres deep.



The Governorate of North Al Batinah is famous for the presence of these three types, but the "Gaily" Aflaj can also be found in various wilayats of the governorate.

Al-Ghufaili pointed out that civil society organisations contribute to such development projects and heritage by carrying out some maintenance works for some Aflaj to support the development movement in the country. The Jusoor Foundation is one of the most important supporters of such projects. It has lately maintained Aflaj in the Al Jil, and Al Qabayel in the Wilayat of Sohar and in Al Sabakh in the Wilayat of Liwa.

The total length of the Al Qabayel Aflaj is estimated at 5,400 metres, extending from the Umm Al Falaj to the Al Ehtiyaj area. It is estimated these water about 25,000 date-palm trees, on 86 acres of agricultural land. The tender was awarded for the maintenance of 125 metres of the channels for a total of OMR25,000.

It is estimated that the length of the Al Jil Falaj Aflaj in Wadi Al Jizi is 1530 metres and it waters about 7,000 date-palm trees on agricultural land estimated to be spread over about five acres. 560 metres of the Aflaj channel was maintained, in addition to 65 metres of the Gharaq-Falah channel, for a total of OMR48,000.

The Al Sabakh Aflaj in the Wilayat of Liwa has a total length of 2,350 metres and irrigates about 3,200 date-palm trees, with a total area of about five acres. The total cost of maintenance is OMR45,000.

Sheikh Muhanna bin Saif al-Lamki, governor of North Al Batinah, and chairman of the Board of Directors of Jusoor said: "The maintenance of Aflaj (Al Jil, Al Qabayel and Al Sabakh) comes as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the Jusoor Foundation in the Governorate of North Al Batinah. The social projects in Jusoor and its founding companies (Sohar Aluminum, Orpic and Vale) reflect their commitment to achieving sustainable development, taking into account best practices in this area.

He added that Aflaj are one of the main sources in the Sultanate for provision of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use. They also represent a large part of Omani culture in terms of the way they are built and managed.

STAY UPDATED
Subscribe to our newsletter and be the first to know all the latest news