BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has signed a Letter of Intent on conducting joint research projects in the field of water scarcity with Wageningen University in the Netherlands this week. The signing ceremony was joined by H.E. Barbara Joziasse, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Oman and a delegation of Dutch water experts. The joint agreement was initiated and signed by the Netherlands Oman Foundation of Amsterdam.
The main objective of the agreement is to research practical methods for harvesting rainwater while preventing flash floods in Oman. In future, the project may be extended to reforestation and further agriculture projects, which help mitigate the effects of climate change in the Sultanate of Oman. Wageningen University has been successfully working on various water scarcity projects in Kenya, Mali and Vietnam. “Working with Wageningen University provides us with state-of-the art practical and experimental experience. We can easily introduce the techniques applied in other countries here in Oman and therefore improve our water management capabilities. The overall goal is to slow the rainwater on its way to the sea and to give it some time to filter into the ground,” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbrecher, Hydrogeologist at GUtech, Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO).
“We are thrilled to be part of this partnership. Even though it does not rain in Oman, when it rains it pours. With this project we would like to show that every raindrop counts. Every drop of rain that ends up in the sea and has not been harvested is a wasted drop,” said Dr. Philippe Ker Rault of the Environmental Research Team Water and Food at Wageningen University.
“This cooperation means that the Sultanate creates more capacity and knowledge to harvest rainwater more effectively. The research will add directly to the flash flood prevention and to higher levels of sub soil water reserve depletion. It is then possible to stop desertification and re-cultivate large areas with existing rainfall,” said Peter van Ees, Chairman of the Netherlands Oman Foundation. He added that corporations in Oman and the Netherlands will be given opportunities to financially endorse the project and use their support to their corporate social responsibility.