Enjoy our faster App experience

Muscat’s water crisis to persist for many weeks

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Mahrouqi, chairman, told a Press conference that 84,000 cubic metres of water was being pumped daily from wells that have long been part of strategic contingency reserves for the capital city.



By (Staff Reporter)

Published: Thu 11 Jun 2015, 12:57 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:08 PM

Muscat — Oman’s state-run water utility is ramping up water production from strategic well fields to help tide over an acute supply crisis that has left an estimated 15,000 residents of the capital city without piped water for several weeks.

On Monday, the head of the Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW), which oversees the distribution and supply of potable water across the Sultanate, said groundwater reserves are being tapped to augment supplies to parts of Muscat in the grip of a weeks-long supply crunch.

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Mahrouqi, chairman, told a Press conference that 84,000 cubic metres of water was being pumped daily from wells that have long been part of strategic contingency reserves for the capital city.

Al Mahrouqi called the Press briefing in response to mounting criticism, voiced in mainstream media and social platforms, of the government’s handling of the water crisis.  Images of people lining up to receive free tanker-supplied potable water were likened to Oman in 2006 coping with the aftermath of Cyclone Gonu that unleashed havoc on much of the country’s water distribution infrastructure.  The current supply crisis erupted about three weeks ago when consumption began outpacing supply in many parts of Muscat, leaving entire neighbourhoods without water. Authorities attributed the problem to delays in the execution of a major water desalination project at Al Ghubra in the heart of the city. Ageing transmission and distribution infrastructure dating back to the 80s was also partly to blame, say experts.

Al Mahrouqi, however, sought to assure affected consumers that the supply situation was expected to improve once the new desalination project at Al Ghubra is partly brought into operation starting on July 2, 2015. Consumption trends are also expected to ease as the seasonal exodus begins of Omanis returning to their native towns for the summer break.  .

Compounding the misery for households with dry taps are reports of unscrupulous water tanker operators demanding ridiculously high prices for drinking water supplies.   Local media have been rife with reports of consumers being charged up to 10 times the normal price.

In response to the burgeoning crisis, the authority earlier deployed a fleet of 200 water tankers to supply water free of charge at dispensing points.

news@khaleejtimes.com


More news from WORLD