Ju­soor Foun­da­tion helps main­te­nance of aflaj in North Bati­nah

Muscat Daily - - NATION -

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.

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