Oman weather: Rain cheers farmers, worries house owners

Oman Wednesday 02/March/2016 22:06 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman weather: Rain cheers farmers, worries house owners

Muscat: Farmers in many parts of the country are rejoicing as rains fill up the aflaj (irrigation system) system, but owners of old houses are faced with huge repair bills stemming from damage caused by leaks and flooding.
Farmers in towns in the Al Batnah and the eastern regions are beaming with pleasure as their aflaj have gotten replenished with a fresh supply of water after a long dry spell. They are now looking forward to a good harvest in the coming months.
“This is a gift from God. Our aflaj were very low, almost empty and we were worried because the underground channels of water were also drying up. Now we have no worries. We have water for the next four to five months without any problems,” Khalaf Al Hudaibi, a farmer in Mussanah in Al Batnah, told the Times of Oman (TOO).
Another farmer from Sur said his crops were wilting and the dry season had left parches and cracks on his 18-acre farm. The spate of rains in recent days had answered his prayers.
“My irrigation system is now full. I was worried my vegetables and fruits will never be harvested since we had a long dry spell. Water is precious to us and we cannot afford to use the government’s supply because it is too expensive for farming,” said Mubarak Al Araimi.
But if rain is a godsend for farmers, it is also forcing homeowners in rural areas to count their losses.
“It has been raining for a whole week here in Awabi Bani Kharous. There are leaks in my roof. My furniture has been destroyed. My wife and I now live in my brother’s house with our children. The house is unliveable and I don’t think I can afford the repairs,” Fahad Al Kharousi, told TOO.
A resident from the Al Mudhaibi town had a similar story, saying his family home was flooded by the wadi (valley) water, which ironically also filled up the irrigation systems of the neighbouring farms.
“The rain water came down from the mountains, filled up the wadis and overflowed into our homes. The houses on the whole street have been flooded. It will cost me at least 2,000 rials to repair the damage,” Hassan Al Ruqaishi, said.