The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources is preserving the aflaj irrigation system in the Governorate of North Al Batinah with the financial backing of Jusoor Foundation.
The project is implemented by the Directorate General of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in North Al Batinah with the backing of the foundation and its founding companies Sohar Aluminium, Orpic and Vale.
It is part of efforts to recognise the importance of aflaj and preserve this ancient system.
The maintenance works at Al Jil and Al Qabayel Aflaj in the Wilayat of Sohar and Al Sabakh in the Wilayat of Liwa 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 Al 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.”
Aflaj is one of the major traditional water sources on which the Omanis have depended for irrigation. The types of aflaj vary according to the nature of the geological nature of the valleys and mountains.
They include Gaily Aflaj, which depends 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 groundwater from subterranean aquifers and is more than 40 metres, Al Ghufaili said.
North Al Batinah is noted for these three types of aflaj, but Gaily Aflaj are most often found in other wilayats also.
The civil society organisations contribute to such development projects and heritage by carrying out some maintenance works for some aflaj. 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 the Wilayat of Liwa, Al Ghufaili said.
The total length of Al Qabayel Falaj is estimated to 5,400 meters, extending from Umm Al Falaj to the Al Ehtiyaj area.
It is estimated that it irrigates about 25,000 date-palm trees on 86 acres of agricultural land. A tender of 25,000 rials was awarded for the maintenance of 125 meters of these channels.
The estimated length of Al Jil Falaj in Wadi Al Jizi is 1,530 meters long and irrigates about 7,000 date-palm trees on an agricultural land estimated to be 5 acres.
About 560 metres of the falaj channel was retained, in addition to the 65-metre Gharaq–Falah channel with a total amount of 48,000 rials.
Falaj Al Sabakh in the Wilayat of Liwa has a total length of 2,350 meters and irrigates about 3,200 date-palm trees with a total area of about 5 acres. The maintenance cost was 45,000 rials.
HE Sheikh Mehana Bin Saif Al Lamki, Governor of North Al Batinah and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Jusoor, said: “The maintenance of Al Jil, Al Qabayel and Al Sabakh Aflaj is part of the corporate social responsibility of Jusoor Foundation in Al Batinah. The social projects of Jusoor and its founding companies Sohar Aluminum, Orpic and Vale reflect their commitment to achieve sustainable development, taking into account best practices in this area.”
Aflaj provides fresh water for irrigation and domestic use. They also represent Omani traditions in the way they are built and managed, he added. ONA