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Utilities in Oman

Electricity & Water

Water and electricity services are supplied by the government and are generally efficient and reliable. Power cuts – lasting from a few minutes to several hours – occur every now and then but rarely pose a major inconvenience. The electricity supply in Oman is 220/240 volts and 50 cycles. Sockets correspond to the British three-pin plug but many appliances are sold with two-pin plugs, so you will need lots of adaptors (available in any supermarket or corner shop).

Though some water comes from natural wells, there is not enough to service the country’s needs so most of the supply is from the sea, processed at the desalination plant at Al Ghubbrah. The main supply of water is very reliable but not all of Muscat’s residential areas are connected to it. If your house is not, you will have to rely on a water bowser to fill up your tank every two or three days. Water trucks for domestic use are blue (the green ones carry non-potable water, for municipal garden watering and industrial use) and they are everywhere – just flag one down or ask your neighbours which ‘water-man’ they use. You will often see several trucks filling up at one of the water wells dotted around the city. Expect to pay around RO25 a month for truck water.

If you are connected to the main supply, keep an eye on your bills and water meter; if you have an underground leak within your property boundary you could be held responsible for a hefty bill, even if you weren’t aware of the leak.

In the heat of summer, it’s unlikely you’ll have the chance to take a refreshing cold shower. Water tanks are usually located on the roof, where they are heated to near boiling point by the sun, and you can’t even stand under the shower because it’s so hot. Between April and October, the only way to get a cool shower is to turn off your water heater, and use the hot water tap.

Oman’s water is safe to drink as it is purified eight times. However, it is heavily chlorinated (which affects the taste) so most people prefer to drink one of the many locally bottled mineral waters. Apart from the coffee shops, all restaurants will supply bottled water. If in doubt, ask for a sealed bottle to be brought to your table. You can get 20 litre bottles of purified water for use at home, either with a hand pump or a water cooler. These are available from shops and supermarkets, and you pay a RO6 deposit per bottle, and refills cost RO1. Alternatively, get a company to deliver the water to your house.

Water Suppliers

Al Afia Water
Tel: 2554-4555
Al Bayan
Tel: 2459-4634
National Mineral Water Company
Tel: 2459-0095
Oasis Water Company
Tel: 2444-6392

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