The Batinah coastal plain in northern Oman has experienced a severe deterioration of groundwater quality due to seawater intrusion as a result of excessive groundwater abstraction for agricultural irrigation. Upgrading all farms to fully automated irrigation technology based on soil moisture sensors may significantly reduce the water demand and lead to recovering groundwater levels. This study compares the effects of smart irrigation technology, recharge dams, and a combination of both on seawater intrusion in the coastal aquifer of the Batinah. A groundwater flow and transport model is used to simulate the effect of reduced pumping rates on seawater intrusion for various intervention scenarios over a simulation period of 30 years, and an economic analysis based on cost-benefit analysis is conducted to estimate the potential benefits. Results indicate that a combination of smart irrigation and recharge dams may prevent further deterioration of groundwater quality over the next 30 years. In conjunction with increased efficiency, this combination also generates the highest gross profit. This outcome shows that the problem of seawater intrusion needs to be tackled by a comprehensive, integrated intervention strategy.
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