Muscat's rapid population growth at the rate of 18 percent in the last three years is posing a serious challenge to achieving its goal of 80 per cent connectivity by 2020. The Master Plan for Muscat had not foreseen this pace of growth Muscat has achieved. Till 2010 Muscat had witnessed a growth rate of only three per cent annually, said Said Rashid al Asmi, General Manager for Projects, Haya Water.
The total cost of the projects in Muscat Governorate, which will be executed in phases, is estimated in the range of RO 2 to RO 2.5 billion till 2030.
As per the 2010 Master Plan of Haya water, it was to spend around RO 150 million for projects per year, which will not be enough, with the current population growth rate, to reach the goal of 80 per cent connectivity by 2020. The solution is to increase the number of projects for which the capital investment has to go up at least till RO 200 million.
Lack of specific corridors for utilities is also a major challenge for Haya.
"Muscat city was designed without dedicated corridors for utilities and we are facing many difficulties because of deficiency. To bring in the corridors, the trenches are opened, but then other services get affected. Muscat is also topographically very difficult due to its mountains, sea and high level of water table. There is a need for cooperation among authorities while executing projects," said Hussain bin Hassan AbdulHussain, CEO of Haya Water. "The wastewater project is executed in a city where existing services are overlapping with each other and the population is growing rapidly."
Some of the changes cited are lack of accurate maps showing the path of services and lack of general law to control NOC certificates. Some projects get delayed due to the performance of contractors and the local market does not have sufficient number of contractors specialised in complex projects. Not to forget to mention about issues such as the change of the land use, lack of standardised GIS System among planning and service bodies.
"There is a lack of contractors and consultants to execute projects. At present, each contractor takes up three to four projects so they get delayed. We do not have enough consultants either. The good thing is we have identified all the challenges and we are now in the phase where we are looking at how to overcome these challenges," said the CEO of Haya Water.
"Haya water is now working with Ithraa through which it can tell the world these are the projects that are available in Muscat and outside the governorate. Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry is also planning business meeting on November 16-17, where they will bring participants (contractors and consultants) from almost 70 countries," said AbdulHussain.
Haya has projects all over Muscat. The projects are based on networks for sewage system and networks for treated effluence. These networks collect sewage from individual households and get transmitted to Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) whether it is in Seeb or Al Ansab.
At Al Ansab the yellow tankers continue to operate. "The reason is that we do not have enough capacity to treat the sewage if we put it in the pipe line. We have a plan in hand for another STP in Misfah (to be located near the cement company). This plant will cater to yellow tankers. The plant should be ready by 2020 or even before that. This year tankers will be transferred to the other side. Hence, we will have the capacity to connect more houses to the network," said Said Rashid al Asmi, General Manager for Projects, Haya Water.
The company is now planning for the development, construction and management of the wastewater systems in the other governorates that were previously managed by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources. The ministry has constructed 63 STPs connected to sewer and treated water networks with a total length of about 750 km spread over the various governorates. The capacity of these STPs is ranging from 30 cubic metres per day to 7,200 cubic metres per day.
Bausher Wastewater Project is one of the company's biggest projects in Muscat Governorate due to the wide geographical area that it covers which includes the areas of the Hamriya, Hillat al Saad, Madinat al Ilam, Madinat Sultan Qaboos, Qurum, Sarooj, Khuwair, Ghubrah, Athaiba, The Wave, Al Ansab, Ghala, Industrial Ghala, Bausher, Bausher village and Misfah. STP in Seeb will treat the wastewater flowing across the sewer networks from all Seeb areas. The total length of current and future sewer networks projects will be about 1,765 km, which is almost twice the distance between Muscat and Salalah.
The wastewater project in the areas of Coastal Darsait, Ayant, Wadi Kabir, Hamriya, Ruwi, Bait al Falaj, Mina al Fahal and Wattayah in Wilaiyat of Muttrah is considered one of the most vital projects in Oman. This project aims to connect nearly 3,722 buildings.
Muttrah is looking for comprehensive redevelopment plan such as the development of the road network, the establishment of other services networks and adding other elements that contribute to the aesthetic of public areas and the environment, support sustainability, preserve the cultural heritage and strengthen the economy and tourism in the region. The engineering design works that started in January 2015, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
The New Darsait STP uses the reactor membrane technology in wastewater treatment which is considered one of the best applicable systems in the world to ensure high-quality treated water and free from any kind of pollutant. Two new tankers for storing treated wastewater and a pumping station will be also constructed at the site. The contractor will also link New Darsait STP with the control room at Al Ansab STP.
Four projects have been awarded in Al Amerat including the construction of STP with a capacity of 18,000 cubic metres per day and three wastewater network projects. Future phases will include the completion of the wastewater networks, as well as treated wastewater networks. In addition, the capacity of the pumping stations and treatment plants will be increased. While eastern and western areas of Al Amerat are covered, the STP project will include a facility to receive the sewage brought by wastewater tankers.
This STP will have a capacity of 18,000 cubic metres per day. It will also have a ventilation system with latest technology and this system will neutralise the bad odors. Haya Water plans to complete this project by 2017 and it is expected to cover about 80 per cent of the houses in Al Amerat.
Haya Water is treating approximately 118,000 cubic metres per day in Muscat Governorate. The company is also operating, at present, 11 Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs), constructing two large modern STPs and expanding the two existing STPs with world-class standards.
The plan of having these new plants is to raise the production capacity of treated wastewater to 318,000 cubic metres a day by the year 2025. The company is currently executing waste water networks projects in the Wilayat of Seeb, Bausher, Al Amerat and Muttrah, and it is expected that the sewer networks will reach a length of around 3,500 km and the treated wastewater networks about 680 km in 2025.