Muscat: Public Authority for Electricity and Water (PAEW) is still probing the possible reasons behind the major burst in a water supply pipeline in Al Khuwair area on Saturday morning. "We have started an excavation work in the area and we hope to restore normal water supply within 48 hours, besides establishing the reasons which led to the burst," Abdullah Al Naa'mi, Control Center Manager at PAEW, said.
Explaining the delay in the repair works, he said the road is very narrow and deep excavation work has to be done. "At some places it is as deep as 8 metres so the repair works are taking time," Al Naa'mi told Times of Oman.
Meanwhile, an expert working with a utility company, said the fast corrosion of pipelines may have been caused by a chemical reaction or contamination of chloride ions and ingress
"It seems that the weakened structure could not hold the internal pressure leading to the final failure," noted the expert. The pipeline was said to have been laid three years ago. It is also possible that the initial ingress of chlorides occurred through porosities in the epoxy coating or that cracks remained unnoticed at the time of laying the pipeline, the expert noted.
"Besides, we have a feeling that the area where the pipeline burst had a low resistance soil which is vulnerable to corrosion," the expert added.
The water pipeline originates at Al Gubrah Water Desalination Station and feeds Muscat, Muttrah, Amerat, Ruwi, Wadi Kabir and Wattayah. "So we urge people to save every drop of water in these areas till the normal supply is restored," the expert cautioned.
Meanwhile, a large number of people in these areas were caught unawares when the water supply was disrupted in the morning. There was shortage of water everywhere, including homes, restaurants, schools and business centres because of the disruption of regular water supply.
"We stored water for a day but they are now saying that it may take 48 hours. We are wondering whether the schools and offices will be opened tomorrow as there is no water supply," said Sabita Guha, an Indian expatriate who lives in a flat on Rex Road. Water tankers were seen in action in all affected areas supplying water to residential complexes, villas, schools, business houses and meeting the peak time demand.
The tankers were charging between RO15 and RO25, depending on the size of the tanks to be filled. "The water tanker guy was asking for RO15 but finally gave it to us for RO10," said a resident of Muttrah. ONA reports that representatives of the wilayats of Muscat Governorate held an emergency meeting with the vice chairman of Majlis A'Shura, Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al Mala'ali, to discuss the water pipes burst.
The members would discuss the issue at the Majlis meeting, as scheduled. Meanwhile, the PAEW authorities have asked customers to contact the call center at 1442 round the clock for help or any other inquiries regarding the disruption of water supply.