The Traditional Aflaj Irrigation System
as mentioned earlier, vary widely in size from those supplying one or
two families to those providing water for several thousands of people
and several hundreds of gardens. In case of smaller systems, one man may
undertake all the management and operations, but for largest a committee
may be required. At the largest type of aflaj, a management committee
is selected among those who know more about the system, mostly elders.
The committee consists of (a) wakil, (b) qabidh, (c) two arif and (d)
workforce of bidars.
a: The wakil
(agent) is the head of the organization of falaj. His responsibilities
include;: ownership and falaj rental; arrangement of distribution of water
according to such rights; maintenance and sale of falaj property; making
the decisions related to any repairs (Sutton, 1984). Ordinarily, the wakeel
carries out his duties without consulting the shareholder, but if the
matter require special expenditure, he arranges for a meeting and discussion
with the leading owners.
water rents provides most of the falaj income. Other falaj properties
contribute to its budget which include palms along the falaj channel,
and gardens owned by falaj. The prices of falaj water varies depending
on water abundance and type of agriculture in certain location. Rental
of water is by auction at six-month intervals. Competition among farmers
for water determine its price for that period Falaj maintenance is done
by workers supervised by arif and it involves cleaning the tunnel by removing
roots and repairing minor collapses of rooting stones or walls.
is an integral part of village life. It provide water for crop lands beside
domestic use. Since the community depends on the falaj in all aspects
of its social life, it acknowledges its dependence upon the falaj and
it is common for a land owner to bequeath date palms and water rights
back to the falaj institution to augment its income and ensure its continued
survival. local people have their own structure of decision-making in
farming that are actively planning and executing their own responses.
Birks mentioned that rural communities live under a chronic threat of
drought, and have developed a series of responses to shortage of rainfall.
When the falaj community encounter lack of rain period, it respond to
save the amount of water brought be the falaj. Such responses include;
the falaj is directed in one falaj rather than two; the cycle of irrigation
for each garden; reluctance to plow, or to disturb the soil under the
palms at all, because this causes individual plots to absorb more water;
and appointing labor for cleaning and facilitate water flow. According
to Birks the modern responses to drought is characterized by reduced labor
inputs The government launched many projects to help water reservoir and
for maintenance of aflaj systems by: repair of aflaj to increase their
water conveyance; development and upgrading of the collection section
of the aflaj to increase water resources; construction of aflaj support
wells; and proper utilization of falaj water by introducing modern irrigation