Analysis of a past irrigation system in Oman

T.-D. Xanthopoulou, Analysis of a past irrigation system in Oman, Postgraduate Thesis, 82 pages, Department of Water Resources and Environmental Engineering – National Technical University of Athens, Athens, October 2015.



An archaeological field study led to the gathering of data for a past Omani irrigation system of the 16th-17th century. The system was supplied with water from a main water system (falaj systm) and the cross-section in the water system is well preserved. Hydraulic modeling was selected in order to understand the interactions between the system-the environment and the human agent. The water demand is not known but it can be estimated with assumptions regarding the crops, the soil and the agricultural practices. Two scenarios on the input flow in the system were made and in the hydraulic modeling different irrigation management scenarios were implemented. From the modeling results, it can be concluded that the system needed hydraulic structures for irrigation in all fields to be possible. From the hydraulic simulation and the water balance in the fields, stones that divert water are placed in the fields after the completion of irrigation. The stone settings reveal that the system needed co-operation from the inhabitants to work in order to satisfy the water needs. If parallel irrigation in combination with hydraulic structures is performed then the irrigation duration lowers but more farmers are needed. If the fields are irrigated separately, less human force is needed but the irrigation duration raises a lot. Power relations between canal systems, between the intakes of water from the main system and between fields systems are reasons to believe that conflict had to be resolved between the users of the system. Finally, potential locations for intake of domestic use and perennial crops were identified based on the priorities directed by traditional agriculture.

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