The Problem

The Problem

Water demand in the Sultanate of Oman has recently increased (15% per year) as a result of financial development, increasing in population, agriculture and industries, which lead to depletion of water resources. It is clear that the current water resources cannot meet the future demand. In addition, most areas of the country are still suffering from the presence of large quantities of untreated wastewater that leads to leaks in the subsoil and cause groundwater contamination.

Organic pollutants, anionic toxic species and heavy metals are the main industrial wastewater pollutant from oil industry and hospital wastewater. Above the tolerance level, heavy metals cause neurological disorders, infertility, brain fogginess, attention deficit, problems with concentration, developmental delay in children and obsessive compulsive disorder diseases for humans. The polar nature of many water pollutants means they are not totally removed by conventional water treatments; there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. There has been an increasing focus on the application of sustainable bio materials as an alternative to chemical-based water treatment. However, the application of these innovative materials is entirely dependent on real-time monitoring of filtration and remediation requirements to ensure their directed and efficient use.

Dr Velusamy’s group will develop an integrated network of “state-of-the-art” sensors to provide real-time analysis of the presence and levels of contaminants. The sensor output will direct water flow for most effective use of the green filtration and remediation media. In the short to medium term, the research will bring knowledge transfer between the host institutions, generate commercial opportunities for low-cost water treatment technologies.

Additionally, it will improve water safety and contribute to effective water resource management for Omanis agriculture, industry, and domestic users, with associated health and economic benefits