Army engineers drill wells to ease Muscat's water crisis

Normality in supplies is expected to be restored starting from July 2 when the new desalination plant at Al Ghubrah is brought into operation.



By A Correspondent

Published: Sat 13 Jun 2015, 10:04 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:06 PM

Muscat: Alarmed by the burgeoning water crisis in Muscat, the Omani government has sought the assistance of army engineers to drill water wells to help augment supplies to beleaguered neighbourhoods in the capital city.

The official Oman News Agency (ONA) reported on Thursday that mobile drilling rigs operated by personnel of the Defence Ministry’s Engineering Services Department were pressed into service at four suburban locations — Al Mawaleh, Al Khoudh, Al Ghubrah and Al Ansab — in the city.

Beneath those locations are prolific aquifers long designated by the government as strategic reserves to be harnessed only in the event of a supply contingency involving seawater desalination.

Muscat’s protracted supply crunch, which first erupted three weeks ago, has dominated mainstream and social media, with commentators criticising the government-run Public Authority for Electricity & Water (PAEW) for failing to anticipate the crisis.

Delays in the completion of a major desalination plant under construction in Al Ghubrah in the heart of the city, compounded by soaring water demand, have contributed to the shortfall.

With the aim of ratcheting up output from strategic wellfields located with the city limits, PAEW announced a joint initiative with the Defence Ministry to drill new wells that will add a further 24,000 cubic metres per day of capacity to the current groundwater production of 84,000 cubic metres per day.

That still leaves a shortfall of around 20,000 cubic metres per day that an estimated 15,000 affected inhabitants of Muscat are struggling to cope with.

Normality in supplies is expected to be restored starting from July 2 when the new desalination plant at Al Ghubrah is brought into operation.

news@khaleejtimes.com


More news from WORLD