Aflaj hold key to sustainable development in Batinah

Suhar: The Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources has teamed up with Jusoor Foundation for the maintenance of some of aflaj in the Governorate of North Al Batinah.
The project was funded by Jusoor Foundation (a joint venture of Sohar Aluminum, Orpic and Vale) due to the importance of preservation of this ancient irrigation system. The maintenance works of Al Jil, Al Qabayel aflaj in the Wilayat of Suhar and Al Sabakh in the Wilayat of Liwa have 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”.
He said aflaj in the Sultanate is considered one of the major traditional water sources on which the Omanis have depended on irrigation of their various plants.
They depend on them 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, including “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 groundwater from subterranean aquifers, more than 40 metres.
The Governorate of North Al Batinah is famous for the presence of these three types, but “Gaily” aflaj are prevailing in the various wilayats of the governorate.
Al Ghufaili pointed out that the civil society organisations contribute to such development projects and heritage by carrying out some 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 Suhar and Al Sabakh in Liwa.
The total length of Al Qabayel Falaj is estimated to 5,400 metres, extending from Umm Al Falaj to the Al Ehtiyaj area.
It is estimated that waters about 25,000 date-palm trees, on 86 acres of agricultural land.
The tender was awarded for the maintenance of 125 metres of the channels with a total amount of RO 25,000.
It is estimated that the length of Al Jil Falaj in Wadi Al Jizi is 1,530 metres long and waters about 7,000 date-palm trees on agricultural land estimated at about 5 acres.
560 metres of the falaj channel was maintained, in addition to 65 metres Gharaq — Falah channel, with a total amount of RO 48,000.
Falaj Al Sabakh in Liwa has a total length of 2,350 metres and irrigates about 3,200 date-palm trees in 5 acres.
The total cost of maintenance is RO 45,000. Shaikh Muhanna bin Saif al Lamki, Governor of North Al Batinah, 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 the Governorate of North Al Batinah.
The social projects in Jusoor and its founding companies (Sohar Aluminum, Orpic and Vale) reflect their commitment to achieving sustainable development, taking into account best practices in this area.” He said aflaj are one of the main sources in the Sultanate for provision of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use.
They also represent a large part of Omani culture in terms of the way they are built and managed. — ONA

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