Times of Oman
Water quality in Oman among world’s best, says UN report
October 22, 2017 | 9:02 PM
by Gautam Viswanathan, gautam@timesofoman.com
Ninety-seven per cent of water in Oman is free from contamination and all residents have access to water. Photo-Shutterstock
 
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Muscat: Residents in Oman have access to some of the best clean drinking water, according to a new report issued by the United Nations (U.N.).

According to the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report entitled, “Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: 2017 Update and Sustainable Development Goal Baselines,” jointly released by the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and World Health Organisation (WHO), 97 per cent of water in Oman is free from contamination and all residents have access to water.

While 91 per cent of them have instant access to water piped water, only 9 per cent have to wait for water to come in tankers. Water conservation and health experts say this is an excellent showing on the part of the government, and that this number will improve further in the future.

“The percentage being stated is very high so it is good that Oman is doing a lot to facilitate the access of water to its residents and to make sure that the quality of water is corresponding to the international standards,” said Dr. Jauad El Kharraz, head of research at the Middle East Desalination Research Centre (MEDRC).



“The Public Authority of Electricity and Water and the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, as well as the Oman Power and Water Procurement Company deserve special mention here because they have helped supply water to all of the country’s people.”

“There are many methods of purification of water, depending on the stations that we have, but there must be quality control mechanisms to check the output and see if it conforms to Oman’s and international standards,” he added.

“It is quite clear that Oman’s practices are being followed well and that there is a good monitoring system, but it is also important to keep up this level of monitoring.”

El Kharraz also praised the high quality of purification in Oman.

“Purification is done through boiling, micro-filtration, ultra-filtration, reverse osmosis and desalination, distillation, chlorination, and by many levels of wastewater treatment, but this also depends on the use of the water, whether it is used to irrigate green spaces, or for drinking, for example, so depending on the use, we use the appropriate technology, and we need to also take into account the cost, because if it is enough to use secondary treatment of wastewater, we don’t need to use higher levels to cost more,” he explained.

“Regarding drinking water for people, we must do the best treatment possible so that we can avoid all the disease-causing bacteria and viruses, so the more advanced the treatment, the better the quality is for the citizens,” he added. “I think in Oman, almost all houses are connected to the water distribution network, so the small percent that don’t have ready access to water could benefit from simply extending this network, because in the long-term, this is more economical than using tankers.”

Clean water is one of the foundations of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which also includes ready access to energy and sanitation.

This indicator is calculated worldwide, with the U.N. having introduced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes access to water, energy and sanitation.

Dr. A. Basheer, a doctor of internal medicine at Badr Al Sama’a Hospitals, says that clean water was paramount for a healthy society.

“For preventive measures against waterborne diseases, such as typhoid and cholera, the most important step is to have access to clean drinking water,” he said. “There are two primary ways to ensure the water is clean: the government here is ensuring that that water being supplied is suitably purified, and in Oman, there is a very strict control with regards to the quality of the water which comes in pipes, so we don’t need to boil it if we’re going to drink it, but otherwise, we need to boil tap water before using it.”

“Safe water, sanitation and hygiene at home should not be a privilege for only those who are rich or live in urban centres,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director general. “These are some of the most basic requirements for human health, and all countries have a responsibility to ensure that everyone can access them.”

“Safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene are critical to the health of every child and every community, and thus are essential to building stronger, healthier, and more equitable societies,” added UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake.



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