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Rain breathes life into drought-hit area in Oman.

Summary: Villagers have already started work to irrigate their farms in hopes to harvest their high-quality dates once again

Volunteers clear debris after the recent rains. Falaj irrigation has been considered an integral part of the O Image Credit: Courtesy: Twitter Volunteers have already cleared out debris fromkilometre-long stretches of Oman's aqueducts. Image Credit: Courtesy: Twitter By Fahad Al MukrashiCorrespondent

Muscat: Heavy rains that have hit Oman recently have given residents of Ibri province an unexpected blessing.

The waters have breathed life into one of the major water channels in the province after its been out of service for 10 years.

The 200 year-old Falaj Al Raqi, located in Araqi area of Ibri province, started flowing again on Saturday after years of drought.

Hundreds of volunteers in the village gathered at the early hours on Saturday morning, with their tools and equipment to dig and clean the debris from the falaj, which means aqueduct or water channel in Arabic.

Ahmad Al Abri, one of the volunteers, told Gulf News that they cleaned two kilometres of the falaj channels which took more than 15 hours on Saturday.

"Lots of dirt and sand dumped in the falaj channels for the past ten years made it harder for us to clean," he said.

Sultan Al Abri, a Shura Council member, representing Ibri province, was among the volunteers.

The drought devastated dozens of palm tree farms in the area.

Villagers have already started work to irrigate their farms in hopes to harvest their high-quality dates once again.

Falaj irrigation has been considered an integral part of the Omani social fabric since ancient times.

There are more than 4,100 falaj nationwide, which provide water for thousands of farms as well as people, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries statistics.

Falaj Daris, one of the biggest falaj, located in Nizwa, was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2006.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Mar 28, 2016
Words:333
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