Using economic incentives and regulations to reduce seawater intrusion in the Batinah coastal area of Oman

Slim Zekri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Excessive groundwater abstraction is a major problem in Oman, primarily in the Batinah coastal area where it results in seawater intrusion. The Government began to address the problem in the 1990s by encouraging the use of more efficient irrigation systems, replacing date palms with winter vegetable crops and using treated wastewater for municipal irrigation. However, 15 years later, seawater intrusion in the Batinah aquifers is still advancing at an alarming pace. This paper analyses the relative merits of strategies to control groundwater pumping based on water quotas, electricity quotas and electricity pricing. A cost benefit approach is used to evaluate the feasibility of three strategies over a period of 25 years and to compare them to the "business as usual" option. Results show that the net present loss to the community when no active policy is implemented amounts to (-$288) million. Imposing water quotas on tubewells would give a net present benefit of $153 million. However, such quotas would give the lowest present benefit and create inequity among farmers. Other possible approaches would be to control the pumping of groundwater from all wells - tubewells and dug wells - by enforcing energy quotas and by increasing the price of electricity used to pump water. The net present benefits would be greater and the costs to farmers would be more fairly spread. The results of cost-benefit analysis show that enforcing an electricity quota, coupled with removal of the subsidy on the electricity price, is the easiest and most equitable solution to implement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalAgricultural Water Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008


  • Energy quotas
  • Groundwater management
  • Subsidy
  • Tax
  • Water metering
  • Water quotas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Earth-Surface Processes


Dive into the research topics of 'Using economic incentives and regulations to reduce seawater intrusion in the Batinah coastal area of Oman'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this