Leading Experts & Student Researchers Gather to Focus on Water Management within Agriculture

MEDRC Water Research brought their Omani Desalination Researchers Network together to focus on the issue of water management within agriculture, at their headquarters, in Al Hail, Muscat.

The Omani Desalination Research Network was first launched by MEDRC in 2016, and aims to gather water desalination experts and researchers and provide them with a platform to highlight new research findings, produce collaborations and coordinate the focus of Oman’s leading water experts on water challenges specific to Oman.

Globally and in Oman, agriculture is the largest user of water. Water use in agriculture is often highly inefficient with only a fraction of the water diverted for agriculture effectively used for plant growth, with the rest drained or lost via evapotranspiration. With population growth and rising affluence, the need for food and thus agricultural water for irrigation is increasing. Thus, producing more with less is the only option. The aim of the workshop is to present applicable solutions to specific problems relating to water management in agricultural practices.

The choice of this meeting’s topic, “Towards efficient use of water in agriculture” is justified by the need to provide solutions and good practices of water use in the Omani agriculture sector. Alumni from Omani universities such as Sultan Qaboos University, Caledonian College of Engineering and the International Maritime College of Sohar, were invited to present their research findings to the audience. Contributions were submitted in a poster format allowing the audience to quickly grasp the key points of the work and to consider the potential of the outputs to act as solutions to agricultural water challenges. The workshop culminated with an award for the Best Research Poster Presentation which was won by Ms. Tahani Bait Suwailam, from Sultan Qaboos University for her poster entitled ‘Seawater greenhouse, toward freshwater irrigation production’
Second place was awarded to Ms. Afrah Al-Shukaili, SQU for her work ‘Tilted Porous Composite as Evaporating “Cap”: Do Desert Dunes Preserve Moisture by Capillary Barriers?
Third place was awarded to Ms. Hawraa AL-Ajmi, from The International Maritime College Oman (IMCO) for her poster titled ‘RO Desalination Using Renewable Energy’.

Making presentations from Omani institutions on the day were: Prof. Mushtaque Ahmed (College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University), Dr. Htet Htet Kyaw (Nanotechnologies Research Center, Sultan Qaboos University), Eng. Zahir Al Salmani (Directorate General of Agriculture & Livestock Research, Ministry of Agriculture & fisheries), Dr. Majed Abusharkh (Public Authority for Electricity & Water), Eng. Abdullah Al Habsi (Occidental Mukhaizna LLC), Eng. Noura Al-Balushi (Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, Caledonian College of Engineering), Dr. A. M Saravanan, Dr. Anna Jesil and Ms. Asma Al-kharusi, (Caledonian College of Engineering), Eng. Ahmed AL-Mayahi (SQU Alumni, Master of Science in Soil and Water management, Sultan Qaboos University), and Dr. Muna Al-Hinai, (Nanotechnology Research Center, Sultan Qaboos University).