From Rocks to Agriculture – The Ingenuity og the Omani Aflaj System

I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like in an inland Omani village, before tourists and resident expats arrived on weekend day trips, before all the comforts and amenities of modern society were available.

At a time where some seem to think we can simply take whatever we want from the planet, the traditional Omani aflaj irrigation system, still found in so many villages, is both fascinating and educational. The aflaj system was developed to extract and make use of a scarce resource in this dry land – water. To understand water supplies and traditional distribution of water, we need to step back in time.

The Formation of Wadis

The mountain range is full of wadis, or riverbeds – some are dry, but many feature pools of water and support lush green vegetation and villages.

Zayana al Aisri, a geoscientist with Petroleum Development Oman, helped me grasp the basics of how wadis are formed.

“The wadis of Oman are around 20 million years old,” Zayana shared. “They were formed from cracks or sutures in the mountains.”

“Oman is on an area experiencing a lot of earth movement,” she elaborated, “and as it moves, cracks are formed and widens. Sometimes, material falls into the cracks and rain comes and drags the material along, further widening the suture.”

Interesting article? There is more to it. Head over to The Turban Times to read the rest! 

All pictures by Tone Delin Indrelid @theothertrail

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