Falaj Al Maitha in Bahla feeds the flow of tradition

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BAHLA: The aflaj systems, established in the Sultanate to provide water security, are unique engineering systems that characterise the Sultanate. A falaj runs from its main channel and covers long distances between streams for irrigation of oases and farms, thus becoming the source of water for agriculture. The Wilayat of Bahla boasts more than 100 aflaj, such as Al Dawoodiya, Al Aynia and Al Ghailiya.
Falaj Al Maitha, the most prominent among them and a great example of Oman’s aflaj architecture, is located inside the historical Bahla oasis.
Zakaria bin Amir al Humaimi, a researcher in history, says that Falaj Al Maitha is attributed to its Omani engineer, Maitha. A popular tale says that Maitha was the one who suggested to the people of Bahla to build a falaj to ensure steady water supply. It was her plan to provide water security and develop the local economy, which was based mainly on agriculture. Thus, she proposed to work with them to build this falaj, which she personally financed. The same tale says that Maitha had a sister named Gaitha, an architect, who funded construction of the Bahla Wall, which was designed as a defensive building surrounding the wilayat. The falaj and the wall took one full year to complete.
Al Humaimi said: “The falaj is located within the historical oasis of Bahla, where its channels extend from the northwestern parts of the Al Alayah area towards the centre of the wilayat, passing by a number of neighbourhoods like Al Nadwa, Al Lahma, Al Ram and Al Ouqer. The people use the falaj for their water supplies until it reaches the borders of Safalat Bahla, which lies on the south-west side. Falaj Al Maitha comprises falaj Dawoodi and Ghaili at the same time, a unique feature for this falaj, compared to other aflaj.
Zakaria al Humaimi pointed out that Falaj Al Maitha has been mentioned in several old Omani manuscripts and documents, in addition to historical narratives, including the biography of Abdullah bin Omar al Bahlawi, that Imam Barakat bin Mohammed al Kharousi constructed a water channel. There are papers and documents about Falaj Al Maitha in the Documents Department at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture.
Falaj Al Maitha has received the attention of the government and as a result its channels have been repaired and cemented. An artesian well has been drilled to feed the falaj. — ONA

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