Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life
Oman is situated within one of the planet’s most arid zones. With 3,165 km of coastline surrounded by arid and mountainous land and deserts where the sun shines harshly, the Sultanate of Oman has to overcome great challenges to ensure food production, sustainability and security.
In a water-scarce country, the management and distribution of water resources becomes top priority in sustaining life ... and it has been for centuries.
Water is key to food security. Crops and livestock need water to grow. Agriculture requires large quantities of water for irrigation and of good quality for various production processes. While feeding the world, agriculture also confirmed its position as the biggest user of water in the world.
With unreliable rainfall and no rivers and limited underground reservoirs, the harvest of the land rest heavily on an ancient system of water distribution. A sustainable system that works on the natural gravity of the land, the splendidly-engineered aflaj, is the system of underground and surface canals that have watered the country's agriculture for millennia.
The ancient Aflaj, five of which are listed UNESCO World Heritage Sites, still delivers 900 million cubic meters of water per year which is more than 70% of the country’s water use and irrigates about 55% of Oman’s farm land.
Falaj water is apportioned to villagers upon an age-old system, and religious authorities arbitrate disputes over water rights. Gardens are irrigated for a certain time period called an athar and commonly half an hour long.
Many villages have a sun clock to measure time periods of irrigation. The aflaj animates legend and life in the villages of Oman.
Inspired by this tradition, the Oman Pavilion will tell a story of how the Omanis manage their water resources and continue to harvest the sea to ensure sustainability of food supply. The pavilion will effectively become a giant clockwork of synchronised activities when at timed intervals the falaj flows through the ‘Water Village’ which springs to life with activities and interactive information that covers various sub-themes and topics that fit into all five Itineraries of the Expo:
1. Science and technology for food safety, security and quality .
2. Science and technology for agriculture and biodiversity .
3. Innovation in the agro-food supply chain .
4. Dietary education .
5. Food for better lifestyles ,
6. Food and culture.
7. Cooperation and development on food.
1. The history of Humanity, stories of food .
2. Abundance and shortage: The contemporary paradox.
3. The future of food.
4. Sustainable food = fair world .
5. Taste is knowledge.