Traditional surface irrigation systems of aflaj provide more than 60 per cent of the fresh water supply in the Sultanate of Oman and irrigate around 55 per cent of the cropped area. Over the years, these systems have set traditions for intertemporal water resources allocation and a process of users rights established on ownership and/or rent basis. A management structure has been generated to organize, maintain and distribute aflaj water resources. This article examined the system of trading water rights in order to identify opportunities for improved water use and distribution. Evaluation of the system revealed potential flaws which hinder efficient aflaj water resources use, and which arise from the traditional social rules of water rental and pricing, interregional water immobility. lack of development within the on-surface distribution system, and the speculative mortgage option generated by the water exchange system. Specific actions are recommended to improve the use and distribution of aflaj water resources. These include restructuring of the aflaj management, improvement of the operation of water tradable system, sustainable use of aflaj water; and specific actions of aflaj water sustainability Careful considerations, however: must be given to prevailing social rules and habits governing aflaj management.
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