Tareq Ashqar – 17th August 2017 – Al-Watan (Oman)
Research by Dr Saif ibn Ali ibn Salim al-Khamisi, which was presented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, has been ranked third place in the Arab nations for excellency in water research, as publicised by the front pages of Omani newspapers yesterday. This achievement can be considered as a quality addition to the successes of the General Directorate for Animal and Agricultural Research in various fields, especially to the field of best water usage in Oman.
And while the success of the study, which carries the title “Proposed use of treated water and groundwater in crop cycles,” can be considered a coronation of the efforts expended by the Ministry through the General Directorate – which seeks to devise the best methods of water resource conservation, through optimal irrigation – this success also reflects the level of awareness in the Sultanate of the vital need to continue serious scientific research, specifically around water. The increased interest in water research in the Sultanate has coincided with the widening global awareness of rising water scarcity and increasing need for water as population growth intensifies. These factors are especially apparent in the Levant which is considered, along with all the countries in the Near East and North Africa, to have the lowest share of fresh water per capita, which has led the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to launch what is known as the regional project “Implementing the 2030 Agenda for water efficiency/productivity and water sustainability in NENA countries”.
So the study “Proposed use of treated water and groundwater in crop cycles”, if the FAO is aware of it, could be one of the foundations on which the FAO initiative to ensure efficient productivity and water sustainability in the region is based, especially if this international organisation fights to resolve the problems of the region through three of its own initiatives, namely the Regional Initiative on Food Security, the Regional Initiative on Water Scarcity, and the Regional Initiative on Small-scale Farming.
In light of the importance of water, and the day-after-day intensification of the region’s suffering due to lack of it, experts expect water to become a strategic commodity more expensive than oil in the foreseeable future. The region is experiencing economic and manufacturing growth, and will face increasing need for fresh water, as it is a fundamental component in many food and pharmaceutical industries. The region is also experiencing an increase in population growth, and so expansion of scientific research like this is considered essential in these times. On top of all that, the widening awareness of the concept of sustainability in all fields of development adds qualitative value to this type of scientific research, to the point where we can consider this research, by virtue of its topic, an aid for guidance in the use of water for the sake of future generations, which is the primary goal of sustainability.
In any case, the current stage is the most appropriate to fund additional research which would plumb the depths of water issues, especially while many experts believe that water in the future will have a strategic position no less important than the strategic importance of oil today, which occupies and governs the details of people’s lives.
Translated by Conor Fagan
Original article can be found here.