Assessing the resilience of water supply systems in Oman

  • Kassim Al Jabri

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Water systems in the Sultanate of Oman are inevitably exposed to varied threats and hazards due to both natural and man-made hazards. Natural disasters, especially tropical cyclone Gonu in 2007, cause immense damage to water supply systems in Oman. At the same time water loss from leaks is a major operational problem. This research developed an integrated approach to identify and rank the risks to the water sources, transmission pipelines and distribution networks in Oman and suggests appropriate mitigation measures. The system resilience was evaluated and an emergency response plan for the water supplies developed.
    The methodology involved mining the data held by the water supply utility for risk and resilience determination and operational data to support calculations of non-revenue water. Risk factors were identified, ranked and scored at a stakeholder workshop and the operational information required was principally gathered from interviews. Finally, an emergency response plan was developed by evaluating the risk and resilience factors.
    The risk analysis and assessment used a Coarse Risk Analysis (CRA) approach and risk scores were generated using a simple risk matrix based on WHO recommendations. The likelihoods and consequences of a wide range of hazardous events were identified through a key workshop and subsequent questionnaires. The thesis proposes a method of translating the detailed risk evaluations into resilience scores through a methodology used in transportation networks.
    A water audit indicated that the percentage of NRW in Oman is greater than 35% which is similar to other Gulf countries but high internationally. The principal strategy for managing NRW used in the research was the AWWA water audit method which includes free to use software and was found to be easy to apply in Oman. The research showed that risks to the main desalination processes can be controlled but the risk due to feed water quality might remain high even after implementing mitigation measures because the intake is close to an oil port with a significant risk of oil contamination and algal blooms. The most severe risks to transmission mains were found to be associated with pipe rather than pump failure. The systems in Oman were found to be moderately resilient, the resilience of desalination plants reasonably high but the transmission mains and pumping stations are very vulnerable.
    The integrated strategy developed in this study has a wide applicability, particularly in the Gulf area, which may have risks from exceptional events and will be experiencing NRW. Other developing countries may also experience such risks but with different magnitudes and the risk evaluation tables could provide a useful format for further work.
    Date of AwardApr 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Abertay University
    SupervisorDavid J. Blackwood (Supervisor) & Joseph Akunna (Supervisor)


    • Resilience
    • Risk assessment
    • Water supply
    • Non-Revenue Water
    • Water audit

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