Water management intricacies in the Sultanate of Oman: The augmenation - Conservation conundrum

Hassan A. Al-Ajmi, Hayder A. Abdel Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


As with most arid regions, the gap between increasing demands for freshwater and the limited available natural resources has increased dramatically in the Sultanate of Oman. This is mainly due to the expansion in agricultural production and improvements in the standard of living with increasing demands per capita for good quality water. Major aquifers are affected from excessive pumping at rates, which have reached 190 percent of the safe yield in some areas. Several water management approaches have been introduced and implemented, including augmentation of resources and conservation of water. The overall annual water deficit has been estimated to be about 378 Mm3, nearly 50 percent of this being in the most agriculturally productive area of the country. This paper highlights the water shortages in Oman and the efforts exerted to resolve them. It also presents an economic assessment of costs and benefits that might provide a Preliminary sound base for examining alternative methods of water augmentation and conservation. It is concluded that, even though conservation practices cost much less than augmentation, favoring one practice over the other is contingent on considerations other than mere costing. However, the general policy seems to favor augmentation rather than conservation. This policy must be reviewed through continuous assessment and feasibility studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-79
Number of pages12
JournalWater International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Augmentation
  • Conservation
  • Desalination
  • Fog collection
  • Oman
  • Recharge dams
  • Wasteater treatment
  • Water legislation
  • Water resources

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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