Jusoor Foundation helps maintenance of aflaj in North Batinah
Sohar - The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, represented by the Directorate General of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in North Batinah, is maintaining some of aflaj (ancient irrigation system or water channels) in the governorate. This project is part of the partnership between the government and the private sectors.
The project was funded by Jusoor Foundation and its founding companies (Sohar Aluminium, Orpic and Vale), in recognition by the officials at these institutions of the importance of aflaj and the preservation of this system, which is a characteristic of the sultanate. The project includes maintenance work of Al Jil and Al Qabayel aflaj in the wilayat of Sohar and 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 North Batinah, said, “These projects are part of the promotion and improvement of water resources management. The ministry appreciates the efforts of Jusoor Foundation and its companies to finance these projects. It hopes that the financial support continues in other municipal and water projects to serve the public interest.”
He added that aflaj are considered one of the major traditional water sources on which the Omanis have depended for irrigation. They depend on aflaj as one of the most important sources of living. The aflaj types vary according to the nature of the geological and hydrological nature in the valleys and mountains of the sultanate.
They include ‘Gaily’ aflaj, which depend on surface and sub-surface waters of valleys; ‘Ainiya’ aflaj, which rely on hot or cold springs, as well as ‘Dawoodi’ aflaj, which depend on ground- water from subterranean aquifers, more than 40m deep.
The Governorate of North Batinah is famous for the presence of these three types, and Gaily aflaj can be seen in various wilayats.
Ghufaili pointed out that the civil society organisations contribute to such projects and heritage by carrying out 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 of Al Jil, and Al Qabayel in the wilayat of Sohar and Al Sabakh in Liwa.
The total length of Al Qabayel is estimated to be 5,400m, extending from Umm al Falaj to Al Ehtiyaj area. It is estimated that it waters about 25,000 date palm trees, on 86 acres of land. The tender was awarded for the maintenance of 125m of the channels at a total cost of RO25,000.
It is estimated that the length of Al Jil falaj in Wadi al Jizi is 1,530m and it waters about 7,000 date palm trees on agricultural land spread over five acres. Around 560m of the falaj channel has been maintained, in addition to 65m of Gharaq-Falah channel, at a total cost of RO48,000.
Falaj al Sabakh in Liwa with a length of 2,350m irrigates about 3,200 date palm trees in a fiveacre area. The total cost of maintenance is RO45,000.
H E Sheikh Mehana bin Saif bin Salem al Lamki, Governor of North 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 the corporate social responsibility of Jusoor Foundation in North Batinah. The social projects in Jusoor and its founding companies 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 of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use in the sultanate. They are also representative of Oman’s rich heritage in terms of the way they are built and managed.