The water crisis - should the army step in?

Photograph by AR Rajkumar/TIMES OF OMAN
Some people living in Muscat (the city area, not the little town) have not been getting water supplied reliably for a month already. A month?! Now this water outage is affecting people in Ruwi, Wadi Kabir, Muttrah, Darsait, along with parts of Qurum, Khuwair and Ghala suffering shortages too.

That is a lot of people. And a lot of businesses too. Like, A LOT of people live in those areas, at a total random guess I'd say easily in excess of 50,000 people but I have absolutely no idea - I wouldn't be surprised if the number was 5 times that. I'm aware of people in Khuwair that have not had water since Monday, but there are many people down in Ruwi and surrounding areas that have been suffering this water outage for a month.

Now, the definition of a Humanitarian crisis on Wikipedia is this:

A humanitarian crisis (or "humanitarian disaster") is defined as a singular event or a series of events that are threatening in terms of health, safety or well being of a community or large group of people. It may be an internal or external conflict and usually occurs throughout a large land area. Local, national and international responses are necessary in such events.

Now, the event of a water outage that is threatening literally thousands of people for a prolonged period of time, is, I think, what would make this situation, possibly, technically, a humanitarian crisis. Right? There's no shame in this, there's no point in pointing fingers and saying someone dropped the ball. The point is people have no water, and it's hot. REALLY hot. And people have no water to bathe or cook or flush their toilets.

Oman is blessed with probably the best Armed forces in the region, and the ROP certainly know how to organise a party too. Isn't the solution to this interim water "issue" (crisis?) quite simple? Can't the army or the ROP come in and organise regular water deliveries? I'd like to see the water tanker guys gouging the government like they do the poor residents of these affected areas. My faith in the organisation and logistical abilities of the Sultan's Armed Forces and the ROP is absolute in this regard, I absolutely know that they could handle this with ease.

Ramadan is coming, we've all seen the signs in the supermarkets (but I've not spotted a Vimto pyramid yet) and let's face it; people aren't known for being particularly efficient at working during Ramadan, And this one is going to be the longest days and hottest too in a very long time. Coincidentally this will be my 9th Omani Ramadan, and this will be the longest and hottest one I've been through.

So given that productivity takes a hit during Ramadan, there is going to be even more pressure on water deliveries, especially given that these water outages are expected to last for another three months (as reported in the Times of Oman on the 2nd of June).

Who can make the decision to sort this mess out? Can someone ask? Majlis A Shura make a suggestion? No need for finger pointing, let's just sort this mess out. Right?

le fin.

The water crisis - should the army step in? The water crisis - should the army step in? Reviewed by Sythe on Thursday, June 04, 2015 Rating: 5


  1. Right lets ask the Majlis Al Shura they always have great ideas...

    Ban on alcohol
    Free water and electricity for Omanis

    That will get the water flowing again for sure...

    Problem is simply not enough production capacity: delivery of the new Ghubra plant is late and the old plant (which it is to replace) is falling apart, demand is growing and the wells are already producing at maximum so the water levels in the reservoirs are low and pressure is too low to reach people on the top of the hills or a long way from the reservoirs. People could help by using less water (only washing your car once a day and using a bucket not a hose for example) but until you dont have any water then it isn't a problem for you so why would you bother?

  2. A very valid point about water conservation by the rest of us in area's that so far haven't seen any outages.

    It's not a finger pointing exercise. Everyone knows that water production capacities are not where they should be, bitching about that isn't going to make it better though.

    Yes the Majlis al Shura have had some colourful ideas, but the purpose of the Majlis al Shura is to be a voice of the people, and like them or not, they're here to stay.

  3. whats the army gonna do exactly?
    This is like saying Batman could probably sort it out.

  4. Batman probably has something in his U-belt. The army's ability to purify and supply water through pipes to homes might be a new concept to them..

  5. The army's ability to organise logistics and prepare water distribution points and organise water tanker deliveries is something that they can do. There is more to the army than shooting things. In fact the logistics support of any decent army is a lot larger than you think.

  6. madinat qaboos, Qurm 16, 29 and behind ABA also have major water shortages. ABA school was affected yesterday, they had no water. I have had no water supply properly for longer than a month. sometimes we go a stretch of three days with ZERO water supply. I am one of the lucky ones, we still get water now and then.

    we do everything we can as a family to conserve water and we are extremely careful. the most annoying thing is that the PAEP have kept so quiet about the major problems and not warned people or educated them with ideas on how to conserve water and they (PAEP) should be organising the blue water trucks to supply people at the same cost that people pay when using municipal water, not some ridiculous money-making scam to rip people off.

  7. Anonymous is correct, this is simply poor planning by the PAEW/OPWP and the AER. Over the past few years they have increased the piping infrastructure and not provided new supply. The water is hugely subsidized and therefore wasted by expats and locals. They have built new power plants but without desalination plants IE Barka III, Sohar II. For the people in the industry we saw this coming 3 years ago but for some reason the OPWP/PAEW did not see it. Now as a knee-jerk reaction they have announced billions of investment, unfortunately this will take 2-3 years to materialize.

  8. Perhaps my neighbours could refrain washing their cars daily with their maid and the hose?

  9. Amendment to previous post the neighbours with 4 cars that are washed daily.

  10. We were quoted RO80 by a filthy bottom-feeding wanker to fill us up with water. We've had none for three weeks now.
    I make no apologies for calling him that. Big sly grin on his face. He was told where to go!

  11. a filthy bottom-feeding wanker
    Well said, haha

  12. Think the main point us there isn't enough water. doing all of the things below achieves nothing. Get the army to build a new desalination plant..fair enough.

    The army's ability to organise logistics and prepare water distribution points and organise water tanker deliveries is something that they can do. There is more to the army than shooting things. In fact the logistics support of any decent army is a lot larger than you think.

  13. We in Ghala had been facing water problem for close to two months now. Every alternate days we get around 3-4 hours of water supply filled in by the tankers. And these tankers are charging atrociously. And on top of it, day before yesterday we got a water bill of RO 4.5 from PAEW since the tanker filled water also flows through their same meter gauge. The PAEW officials didn't bother to check the incoming water supply before charging the building residents. For the past two months no incoming water supply from PAEW at all. Will the government waive the water charges for these period or will we have to pay both the PAEW and tankers?

  14. Best Armed forces in the region? Not even close!

    I don't like to sound pessimistic but the reality is, there will be more water shortages in the future, electricity problems, increased corruption etc...

    The so called Omani Renaissance didn't last too long! We've been seeing a decline in almost every field, the majority of Omanis don't even know or realize this sad fact cause they've been brain washed like sheeple with so called achievements during the past 45 years!

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! We're not progressing and things are getting worse everyday!

  15. This article will have the highest number of "Anonymous" commenting on it :)

    I wonder why!!!.

    I am not afraid to say this sucks and I will sigh my name :), government should step up to their responsibilities. the place seems to be run by the WTM, (Water Tanker Mafia), the crises merchants, who live on the misery of other people.

    The fact that there is no visible solution in the horizon, makes it just about time for the inevitable to happen.

  16. All the water you need is apparently on the way!

  17. Greeting from the UK!

    There must be so many companies that delay investment in Oman because of stuff like this. If I was a CEO thinking of investing in a new hotel/ factory etc I'd be forgetting about Oman and moving onto the next country.

    I'm really sure Oman will be OK when the oil runs out ;)


    ex Qurum resident.

  18. Bloody Hell...

    Check this article published on Muscat Daily.

    RO500 for a single tanker of water

  19. See! They didn't mis-manage anything and are not to blame for this mess.
    The fact that they didn't follow up on project deadlines and have contingency plans in place for water shortages is not their problem!

    "I do course. I manager now. I have fambilly wasta. Now I CEO." - yes….but no matter where you sit, you'll always be incompetent.


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