Into the 20th Century

Written on December 10, 2014 – 9:29 am | by admin |

Returning to Khasab, I spoke with Bob Buchanan, a University of Arizona grad¬uate in water-resources management now working for the Omani government’s Mu¬sandam Development Committee.
“In the hills everything needed to sustain life is in short supply,” Bob said. “MDC’s first priority is fresh water, precious even along the coast.
“We are making a detailed survey of wa¬ter resources all over the peninsula,” he con¬tinued. “We have projects ranging from repairing small mountain reservoirs to maintaining desalination plants. Our three small tankers, converted landing craft, now haul water to 66 coastal villages.
“We have electric generators running in four main settlements and a larger unit here in Khasab,” Buchanan said. “Meanwhile the Ministry of Defense is pushing a road through from Bayah in the south. In two years we hope to have a land link with the outside world.”
Khasab, obviously, was girding for a change. A cold store and ice plant were be¬ing built to encourage local fishermen. The new boarding schools were filling with eager boys and girls flown in from the more iso¬lated villages. U. S. engineers had recently been through to survey modernization of its gravel runway. Just before I left Khasab, a new earth-satellite station was aimed sky¬ward to beam in TV programs and phone calls from Muscat and beyond.
Remote Musandam, like the rest of the country, was gaining on the 20th century, I reflected. Given Oman’s growing role in the security of the Western world, it seemed not a moment too soon.