Oman water policy

Slim Zekri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Oman is a country under severe water stress. Currently Oman produces around 1 Mm3/day of desalinated seawater for urban purposes to expand supply. This policy was partially imposed by the irregularity of rain and the concentration of the population on the coastal areas. Most of the conventional water resources are in the form of groundwater and are used in the agricultural sector. Abstractions from wells are subject to licenses. But licenses so far do not carry any limits. The result is a race for water with overabstractions in the coastal areas causing seawater intrusion and damage to the aquifers. The government is planning to introduce progressively water quotas to farmers and monitoring through smart meters and online system. Large volumes of tertiary treated wastewater are produced daily and are only partially reused for landscaping. There is a mismatch between the willingness of farmers to pay for treated wastewater and the price set by the public authority leading to a limited demand. The actual context of free and unlimited access to groundwater does not encourage to shift the demand toward high-quality treated wastewater. Plans are being considered for recharging some of the aquifers with the treated wastewater. Irrigation efficiency improvements have been observed mainly for vegetable producers where the adoption of irrigation technology resulted in higher revenues and lower labor costs. Urban water prices are at 1/3 of their costs discouraging water saving and adoption of water saving/recycling devices at homes or industries. Urban water security is being addressed by aquifer storage and recovery techniques using excess winter desalinated water.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGlobal Issues in Water Policy
PublisherSpringer
Pages113-134
Number of pages22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGlobal Issues in Water Policy
Volume23
ISSN (Print)2211-0631
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0658

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Desalination
  • Groundwater
  • Pricing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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