MUSCAT: Within its plan to connect different investment projects as well as residential and commercial properties with its water network, the Centralized Utilities Company (Marafiq) — a joint venture owned by OQ, a subsidiary of Oman Investment Authority (OIA) — implemented a water network expansion project in parts of Sayy neighbourhood at the Special Economic Zone at Duqm (SEZAD).

Commenting on the same, Engineer Said al Sarhani, Acting Chief Operations Officer at Marafiq, said that the new expansion aims at raising efficiency of potable water sector at SEZAD and enabling the zone to attracting new projects in the areas where the expansion projects were executed.

He stressed that the company's strategy focuses on the availability of water in sufficient quantities and of high quality in various investment and residential areas at SEZAD with attention to enhancing efficiency and sustainability of water resources and making optimal use of them.

Al Sarhani added that Marafiq is working according to a time line that includes the expansion of the network in a number of schemes in SEZAD on an ongoing basis in line with urban growth, investment demand and population increase in the region.

The new project, according to Al Sarhani, included the expansion of the water distribution network in parts of Sayy neighbourhood (schemes 53, 54 and 55) with a length of 15 km. The Company completed last year water network expansion project in Sayy new commercial district with a length of 19 km, which contributed to linking the existing projects in this area to the water network and thus reducing dependence on drinking water transportation tanks.

"Currently, length of pipelines transporting water in the region is 46 kilometers, while the length of the pipelines of the water distribution network is 131 kilometers" he indicated.

During the project implementation period, Marafiq awarded a number of works to small and medium-sized enterprises, such as drilling and pipe installation, Al Sarhani explained, pointing out that companies operating in the water sector have achieved many gains as a result of the water network expansion, in addition to the other economic and social benefits.

Al Sarhani elaborated that the schedule followed by Marafiq in cooperation with the SEZAD also includes the expansion of the network in 3 new areas, stressing the Company's keenness to enhance the performance of the drinking water sector in the Zone.

"The Company has carried out many works to enhancing the performance of the sector since it obtained the license to provide potable water in the region in 2019" he said. He also added that Marafiq is responsible for all operations related to potable water sector in the Special Economic Zone at Duqm starting from water production, transmission, distribution, billing, collection and customers service. He clarified that the Company has opened an office dedicated to manage the operations, maintenance, billing, collection and reception of customers. It also hired staff working alternately throughout the day for periodic maintenance and solving emergency problems in water networks.

Through a specialized technical team working around the clock, the Company monitors water quality, collects samples and conducts the necessary tests to ensure water quality.

" The office receives water service delivery applications, develops plans for the development of the water network to cover most areas of SEZAD , performs periodic inspection of meters and ensure their quality, replace meters in case of a defect affecting the consumption reading, and deal with reports related to network outage or weakness in water pumping" Al Sarhani said, pointing out that by the end of last June, the number of subscribers to the water network service reached about 2720 subscribers.

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