Muscat: Majlis A'Shura's Committee on Water and Food Security met Saturday under the chairmanship of Sultan bin Majid al-Abri, Head of the Committee. The committee hosted Eng. Ali bin Mohammed al-Abri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources for Water Resources to discuss legislation on water well drilling in the Sultanate.
Eng. Al-Abri briefed the committee on, laws, decisions and procedures followed in the area of permits for water wells where he reviewed laws and legislations governing the exploitation of water resources in the Sultanate, referring to the Royal Decree No. (82/88), stipulating the water reservoir as national wealth and the Royal Decree No. (29/2000) issuing the law on the protection of the water wealth, explaining a number of decisions, procedures and controls of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in giving permits to use the water resources, represented in a number of regulations, such as the Aflaj and wells regulation, and regulation on using desalination units on the wells.
The meeting addressed the current situation of legislation and procedures relating to water wells and its ability to meet and solve all the problems and issues of citizens when applied and identify the shortcomings in these laws and regulations.
Eng. Al-Abri explained that the current laws and regulations achieve justice in resource usage and the natural balance of water resources, as the Sultanate is seen as one of the countries suffering from the water shortage, and the Ministry is currently working to confirm maintain the existing farmlands through a number of studies and surveys in this area.
The Committee also discussed the Ministry's opinion of the laws and regulations in giving permits and study the possibility of amending them to meet the needs of current and future stage.
Extensive discussions between the committee's members and Eng. Al-Abri on many issues and matters relating to the water situation in the country in order to find appropriate solutions and proposals.
The committee's members raised the issue of delaying the establishment of some water projects in some wilayats of the Sultanate, including the underground recharge dams where there are a number of valleys that flow into the sea and the issue of delayed maintenance of Aflaj and supporting them with wells and the construction of channels for maintenance.
On his part, Eng. Al-Abri said that the Ministry's plan on dams have changed, since the cyclone that affected the Sultanate, from underground feed dams to protection dams, adding that the Ministry, and on the issue of Aflaj maintenance, that the Ministry is currently working with RO. 6,000,000 in support and maintenance of Aflaj and there are a number of challenges and problems in this aspect, including the limited qualified staff and the inability of contractors at work in this area.
He also invited members of the committee to facilitate the established procedures when replacing, drilling or deepening wells, adding that permits to deepen wells are given without inspecting the location by specialists and he touched upon the issue of the agricultural schemes completed by Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources and forwarded to the Ministry of Housing.