Seawater as the main water Source
In line with the Government’s policy of reducing reliance on ground-water drinking water supply, the Public Authority for Electricity and Water uses seawater, through desalination, as the main source of drinking water.
PAEW currently takes water from four major desalination sites – Ghubra, Barka, Sohar and Sur. The Gubrah, Barka and Sohar desalination plants serve the Main Interconnected System (or MIS) which supplies the most populated areas of Northern Oman. The Sur desalination plant serves the needs of customers in Ash Sharqiyah region, where there is a separate extensive water transmission system.
These large desalination plants have been built and are being operated by outsourced water utility contractors. The Public Authority purchases the water produced by these plants through Oman Power and Water Procurement (OPWP) and manages the supply, storage and distribution to the Omani population.
Water production plants
The Ghubra desalination plant is the oldest of the large desalination plants. In 2015, a new water production plant using reverse osmosis technology was built and progressively replaced the old facility.
In Barka, two separate Independent Power and Water Projects (IWPP) are in operation:
- "Barka I", is a thermal desalination plant with a water production capacity of 91,000m3/day.
- "Barka II", is a reverse osmosis plant and has a water capacity of 120,000m3/day.
A new Reverse Osmosis* desalination plant is currently under construction at Barka and will be fully operational in 2015 with a capacity of 45,000m3/day.
Sohar hosts one water production plant using thermal technology and able to produce 150, 000m3/day of water.. This plant is mainly supplying North Al Batinah and Burami.
In order to meet the population growth in Oman, resulting in increasing water demand, two further major water projects are underway in Qurayyat and at the border between North Al Batinah and South Al Batinah. At the same time, work is now underway on the first stage of a pipeline that will eventually bring water from the Wadi Dayqah Dam—Oman’s first major surface drinking water source—into the Muscat region.
The Sharqiyah governorate is served by the Sur Desalination Plant that has a capacity of 80, 000m3/day. Considering the sharp rise in water demand in the region, planning is underway to extend the plant and enable it to meet customer needs.
Well fields: valuable reserves
In addition to the large desalination plants, water is also supplied by a number of well fields. Wells provide a strategic long term reserve mainly used as alternative resources to support the service during consumption peak periods or plant shutdowns.