The German University of Technology in Muscat, Oman (GUTech) will start to work with the Dutch to research water scarcity and flash floods. On 5 March 2017, a Letter of Intent was signed in Muscat with Wageningen University. The ceremony was joined by H.E. Barbara Joziasse, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Oman and a special delegation of Dutch water specialists.
Objective of the agreement is to research highly cost effective and practical methods to harvest more rainwater in Oman and prevent flash floods at the same time. If successful, the project should be expanded to include reforestation and agriculture projects. Such projects should help to mitigate the effects of climate change in the Sultanate.
The agreement was initiated by the Netherlands Oman Foundation of Amsterdam, one of the signees of the agreement.
Prof.dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher (GUTech, hydro-geologist): “Working with the Dutch provides us with state-of-the-art practical and experimental experience. They have been successfully working on water scarcity across the globe, in countries such as Kenya, Mali and in Vietnam. Their techniques are often remarkably simple. We can easily introduce this into Oman and improve our water management capabilities. We will research and deploy cheap and simple techniques here at the GUTech Campus in Muscat. Goal is to slow the rainwater on its way to the sea and to give it time to filter into the ground.”
Peter van Ees (Netherlands Oman Foundation, chairman): “This cooperation means that the Sultanate creates another capability to harvest rainwater more effectively. The simple structures that will be researched, will add directly to flash flood prevention and higher levels of sub soil water reserve repletion. It is possible to stop desertification and re-cultivate large areas with existing rainfall. With this project, we want to show that we can stop climate change ourselves, as individuals.”
Dr. Philippe Ker Rault (Wageningen Environmental Research), who worked closely with Dr. Wouter Wolters on the agreement: “We are thrilled to be part of this partnership. Even though it does not rain much in Oman, when it rains, it pours. Every drop of rain water that ends up in the sea and has not been harvested, is a drop wasted in our view.”
Corporations in Oman and the Netherlands will be given the opportunity to financially endorse the project, and use their support for corporate communication purposes.