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L.Srikumar Pai
B.Sc( Engg.), MIE, MIWWA, MICI
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 Al Mazara or Wadi Dayqah Dam - Oman

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Wadi Dayqah or Mazara is an excellent tourist spot in Quriyat, about 100 Km from Muscat on the way to Muscat -Sur


coastal road . Wadi's in Oman are great because there is often water. Where there is water, there is lush green, shade and relaxation. The Wadi Dayqah area has a lot of it, water, green, a beautiful setting and on top of that a bit of interesting geology. There is a beautiful dam there.

Rain is rare in Oman, but when it rains there is that sudden burst of water rushing down the slopes into the wadi's. In the case of the wadi Tayin and wadi Dayqah system that means that a lot of water is squeezed through the narrow wadi Dayqah gorge that is in some places only 20-30m wide.

Wadi Dayqah Dam : The contract was awarded in June 2006 and work started in August 2006. It completed in 2009. The French construction company Vinci participated in the contract with local contractor CCC. In the first phase, a dam was built across Wadi Dayqah at Al Mazara at a height of 74m and width of 400m. A secondary dam, 48m high and 370m wide, was built a few hundred metres from the main dam. The contract, worth $115 million (about 90 million), covered the construction of a main dam made of 600,000 cubic metres of roller-compacted concrete and a secondary dam made of 800,000 cubic metres of backfill.

Erosion of wadi Dayqah has slowly cut its way backward through the Eastern Hajar Mountains over a length of some 14 km. At once stage it cut completely through and intersected -or decapitated, as geologists call this process- the wadi Tayin system that was draining along the southwestern flank of the mountains. The Akaba waterfall/drop is probably associated with one of the main NE-SW faults that cut through the Eastern Hajar.

A huge dam just upstream of Mazara, near A'Seeh was completed in 2009 and got first completely filled with water in June 2010 (courtesy Cyclone Phet).

The "390-metre-long storage dam with a height of 73.6 metres and a 100 million-cubic-metre storage capacity provides about 35 million cubic metres of water a year: around 10 million cubic metres for villages down the wadi stream for agricultural purposes and around 5.7 and 19.3 million cubic meters for drinking and domestic purposes in Qurayat and Muscat Governorate consecutively" (From Oman Observer, November 2005).

How to get there:
The wadi Dayqah area is within easy driving range from Muscat (about 100 km from the Hatat Roundabout in Mutrah) and covers part of the scenic northeastern foothills of the Eastern Hajar Mountains where deep wadi's cut into the steep edge of the limestone plateau. Take the Quriyat road from the Hatat roundabout at Mutrah and follow the road to Quriyat. Just after the steep descend to the coastal plain at Quriyat turn right (signposted Hail Al Ghaf) just before the Oman Oil Petrol Station (79 km from the Hatat Roundabout). Turn right again some 3.4 km further in the direction of Misfah and next left after 3 km, signposted to Mazara. The new tarmac road climbs gradually and offers some magnificent views over the coastal plain backwards and the Eastern Hajar Mountains in front. The first approach to Wadi Dayqah is some 6 km along the road, but the barrier prevents an easy view down (you could take the road down to Al Hail and enjoy the pools ). At 13.4 km from the junction turn right on the gravel track signposted A'Seeh. The track forks several times, but if you take what looks like the main track, avoiding the houses, you will end up some 1.5 km further in wadi Dayqah, with a little tourist 'resort' (including huts). If you turn left, just in front of the resort, crossing the falaj on two narrow concrete slabs, you can drive into the wadi. It is possible to drive 'upstream' to the right passing a low gravel dam where a falaj starts, crossing the water channel several times, to a higher plateau where the car can be parked safely. From here you can start the wadi Dayqah walk to wadi Tayin, through the "devil's gap" where it meets that wadi. A walk of some 5 to 6 hours (14 km) with a lot of water. Be careful for possible rapid rising floodwaters in case of rain in the mountains. Do not try this walk if there is a real risk of rain. This walk is best doable if there is a car at the other side (see walk from wadi Tayin side

( Courtesy: )

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