Old water channels still secure Oman's water supply today

Oman has a large, natural facility for the extraction of fresh water, the Hajar Mountains. On its flanks, the air rises and the resulting clouds rain down over the mountains, filling the water table.

More than 1500 years ago, people began to use this constantly renewing groundwater resource in the mountains for their own purposes. To do this, they built a dense network of over 4000 water channels in the mountains of northern Oman, the Faladj system. These old canals were extensively rehabilitated in the 1980s and are still the most reliable supply of fresh water in many oases today. Some of these Afladj have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

In order to be able to meet the constantly growing demand for water and to prevent too much of the precious water from flowing off the mountain slopes into the sea or the desert when it rains, 31 dams have been built in recent years. Boreholes drilled deep into the rock feed the water from the rainfall directly into the groundwater.

Remote areas that are not connected to the Faladj system are supplied with drinking water trucks or, as in Musandam, with the help of tankers. The water needs of the large coastal cities are also secured by seawater desalination plants.

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  • Karin NowackKarin Nowack
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