Increasing water productivity enhances water saving for date palm cultivation in Oman

Yasseen Al-Mulla, H. M Al-Gheilani

Abstract


The total amount of water consumption needed to irrigate the cultivated lands in the Sultanate Oman is 1487 Mm3. There are 7.6 million date palm trees currently planted in the farms in Oman covering an area of 23241 hectares or 35% of total agricultural area in the Sultanate in addition to 0.9 million palm trees planted in homes or for landscaping in public parks and beside the roads. Hence, among all cultivated crops in Oman, date palms are the major water consuming plants. They consume 558 Mm3 that is 38% of total irrigation water and 31% of groundwater recharge that suffers an annual water deficit estimated at 316 Mm3. These findings framed the main objectives of this study: (1) to describe the current status of date palm tree cultivation in the Sultanate; (2) to suggest solutions to reduce high consumption of water while improve dates production; and (3) to explore how irrigation water can be saved through increasing water productivity through alternative date palm cultivation and irrigation practices. The water saving recommendation in this study was based on the collected from different sources in addition to the investigation on the water loss during irrigation practices. We found that it is possible to save a total of 396 Mm3 of irrigation water by for instance reducing the cultivation of low quality/value date palm varieties and switching to modern over traditional irrigation systems. It is also important to determine the quality and value of the date palm cultivars to be planted in the proposed reduced area which will then contribute to an  increased financial return for the farmers and thus to the country through increasing the water productivity by 64% of these new plots. 


Keywords


Water productivity; irrigation water; economical return; date palm trees; Oman

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24200/jams.vol22iss1pp87-91

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