Read the full profile
Environment and health
The quality of the water in the wells differs from place to place. In places near the sea the Electric Conductivity (EC) may reach 10 dS/m, owing to the pumping of groundwater at rates higher than the secured discharges leading to saline sea water intrusion into the agricultural lands. In most of the coastal area salinity has increased gradually since 1988 when the expansion of agriculture reached its peak. The south Batinah areas in particular have suffered from a progressive salinity increase over the last decade owing to the wide expansion of agriculture while other areas showed a gradual increase. The increasing salinity is probably the single most economically devastating water resource problem facing the country at present.
The use of agrochemicals, both fertilizers and pesticides, is a widespread and potentially serious hazard to groundwater quality where, as in most of the Sultanate, groundwater is unconfined and most soils are sandy loam with low organic content (low water-holding capacity and high deep-percolation). The government is strict about the use of all types of agrochemicals. Since 1973, over 50 separate pieces of environmental legislation have been enacted in connection with various aspects of the environment, covering topics ranging from the protection of fish, flora and fauna, to waste disposal and quality standards for drinking water and the reuse of treated sewage effluent.