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Encyclopedia > Qanat
This article applies primarily to Iran

A qanat (from Arabic: قناة) or kareez (from Persian: كاريز) is a water management system used to provide a reliable supply of water to human settlements or for irrigation in hot, arid and semi-arid climates. The widespread distribution of qanat known in different places in their local names has confounded the question of its origin,[1] but the earliest evidence of this technology dates back to ancient Persia,[2] and spread west during the Arab Muslim conquests, to the Iberian peninsula, southern Italy and North Africa.[3] Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Arabic redirects here. ... Farsi redirects here. ... LLGHHHHHHHHHK BNMNKBV JKVGKJJH JHVG KJVH KJV KJV JKV JV JV KJFYG KHV KJV gfnnnnnnnnnnhngjkv jh b ... Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the soil usually for assisting in growing crops. ... In general terms, the climate of a locale or region is said to be arid when it is characterized by a severe lack of available water, to the extent of hindering or even preventing the growth and development of plant and animal life. ... Most rivers in Iran are seasonal and have traditionally not been able to supply the needs of urban settlements. ... For other uses, see Arab (disambiguation). ... Age of the Caliphs  Expansion under the Prophet Muhammad, 622-632  Expansion during the Patriarchal Caliphate, 632-661  Expansion during the Umayyad Caliphate, 661-750 The initial Muslim conquests (632–732), also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests,[1] began after the death of the Islamic prophet... The Umayyad conquest of Hispania (711–718) commenced when an army of the Umayyad Caliphate consisting largely of Moors, the Muslim inhabitants of Northwest Africa, invaded Visigothic Christian Hispania (Portugal and Spain) in the year 711. ... The Islamic conquest and domination of Sicily (as well as parts of southern Italy) is a process whose origin must be traced back in the general expansion of Islam from the 7th century onwards (see Muslim conquests for more details). ... Combatants Byzantine Empire Umayyad Caliphate The Umayyad conquest of North Africa continued the century of rapid Arab Muslim expansion following the death of Mohammed in 632 CE. By 640 the Arabs controlled Mesopotamia, had invaded Armenia, and were concluding their conquest of Byzantine Syria. ...

A kariz (a small qanat) surfacing in Tehran. It is used for watering the grounds of The National Library of Iran.
A kariz (a small qanat) surfacing in Tehran. It is used for watering the grounds of The National Library of Iran.
Exit of a foggara in Libya
Exit of a foggara in Libya

Contents

Image File history File links Qanat_Niavaran. ... Image File history File links Qanat_Niavaran. ... In traditional Persian architecture, a Kariz (کاریز) is a small Qanat, usually within a network inside an urban setting. ... For other uses, see Tehran (disambiguation). ... Image:Milli Library. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x960, 246 KB) émergence de la foggara. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x960, 246 KB) émergence de la foggara. ...

Qanats and settlement patterns

Qanats are constructed as a series of well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping tunnels. This technique: Village pump redirects here, for information on Wikipedia project-related discussions, see Wikipedia:Village pump. ... A shaft can be Look up shaft in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A disused railway tunnel now converted to pedestrian and bicycle use, near Houyet, Belgium A tunnel is an underground passage. ...

  • Taps into subterranean water in a manner that efficiently delivers large quantities of water to the surface without need for pumping. The water drains relying on gravity, with the destination lower than the source, which is typically an upland aquifer.
  • Allows water to be transported long distances in hot dry climates without losing a large proportion of the source water to seepage and evaporation.

It is very common in the construction of a qanat for the water source to be found below ground at the foot of a range of foothills of mountains, where the water table is closest to the surface. From this point, the slope of the qanat is maintained closer to level than the surface above, until the water finally flows out of the qanat above ground. To reach an underground aquifer qanats must often be of extreme length.[4] Gravity is a force of attraction that acts between bodies that have mass. ... An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. ... “Vaporization” redirects here. ...


Features common to regions which use qanat technology

The qanat technology was used most extensively in areas with the following characteristics: [citation needed]

  • An absence of larger rivers with year-round flows sufficient to support irrigation.
  • Proximity of potentially fertile areas to precipitation-rich mountains or mountain ranges.
  • Arid climate with its high surface evaporation rates so that surface reservoirs and canals would result in high losses
  • An aquifer at the potentially fertile area which is too deep for convenient use of simple wells.

The investment and organization required by the construction and the maintenance of a qanat is typically provided by local merchants or landowners in small groups. In the middle of the twentieth century, it is estimated that approximately 50,000 qanats were in use in Iran[4], each commissioned and maintained by local users[5]. The qanat system has the advantage of being relatively immune to natural disasters (earthquakes, floods…) and human destruction in war. Further it is relatively insensitive to the levels of precipitation; a qanat typically delivers a relatively constant flow with only gradual variations from wet to dry years. An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand, silt, or clay) from which groundwater can be usefully extracted using a water well. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s The 20th century lasted from 1901 to 2000 in the Gregorian calendar (often from (1900 to 1999 in common usage). ...


Settlement patterns

A typical town or city in Iran and elsewhere where the qanat is used has more than one qanat. Fields and gardens are located both over the qanats a short distance before they emerge from the ground and after the surface outlet. Water from the qanats defines both the social regions in the city and the layout of the city.[4]


The water is freshest, cleanest, and coolest in the upper reaches and more prosperous people live at the outlet or immediately upstream of the outlet. When the qanat is still below grade, the water is drawn to the surface via Ater-wells or animal driven Persian wells. Private subterranean reservoirs could supply houses and buildings for domestic use and garden irrigation as well. Further, air flow from the qanat is used to cool an underground summer room (shabestan) found in many older houses and buildings.[4] A Persian well is a type of water well found in the Middle East, often used in conjunction with a Qanat. ... A Shabestan or Shabistan is an underground space that can be usually found in traditional architecture of mosques, houses, and schools in ancient Persia (Iran). ...


Downstream of the outlet, the water runs through surface canals called jubs (jūbs) which run downhill, with lateral branches to carry water to the neighborhood, gardens and fields. The streets normally parallel the jubs and their lateral branches. As a result, the cities and towns are oriented consistent with the gradient of the land; what is sometimes viewed as chaotic to the western eye is a practical response to efficient water distribution over varying terrain.[4]


The lower reaches of the canals are less desirable for both residences and agriculture. The water grows progressively more polluted as it passes downstream. In dry years the lower reaches are the most likely to see substantial reductions in flow[4].


Construction

Traditionally qanats are built by a group of skilled laborers, muqannīs, with hand labor. The profession historically paid well and was typically handed down from father to son.[4]


Preparations

The critical, initial step in qanat construction is identification of an appropriate water source. The search begins at the point where the alluvial fan meets the mountains or foothills; water is more abundant in the mountains because of orographic lifting and excavation in the alluvial fan is relatively easy. The muqannīs follow the track of the main water courses coming from the mountains or foothills to identify evidence of subsurface water such as deep-rooted vegetation or seasonal seeps. A trial well is then dug to determine the location of the water table and determine whether a sufficient flow is available to justify construction. If these prerequisites are met, then the route is laid out aboveground.[6][4] This wave cloud pattern formed off of the ÃŽle Amsterdam in the far southern Indian Ocean, due to orographic lift of an airmass by the island, producing alternating bands of condensed and invisible humidity downwind of the island as the moist air moves in vertical waves and the moisture successively... A vast alluvial fan blossoms across the desolate landscape between the Kunlun and Altun mountain ranges that form the southern border of the Taklimakan Desert in China’s XinJiang Province. ...


Equipment must be assembled. The equipment is straightforward: containers (usually leather bags), ropes, reels to raise the container to the surface at the shaft head, hatchets and shovels for excavation, lights, spirit levels or plumb bobs and string. Depending upon the soil type, qanat liners (usually fired clay hoops) may also be required.[6][4]


Although the construction methods are simple, the construction of a qanat requires a detailed understanding of subterranean geology and a degree of engineering sophistication. The gradient of the qanat must be carefully controlled—too shallow a gradient yields no flow—too steep a gradient will result in excessive erosion, collapsing the qanat. And misreading the soil conditions leads to collapses which at best require extensive rework and, at worst, can be fatal for the crew.[6]


Excavation

Qanat construction.

Construction of a qanat is usually performed by a crew of 3-4 muqannīs. For a shallow qanat, one worker typically digs the horizontal shaft, one raises the excavated earth from the shaft and one distributes the excavated earth at the top.[6] Image File history File links Qanat-3. ... Image File history File links Qanat-3. ...


The crew typically begins from the destination to which the water will be delivered into the soil and works toward the source (the test well). Vertical shafts are excavated along the route, separated at a distance of 20-35 m. The separation of the shafts is a balance between the amount of work required to excavate them and the amount of effort required to excavate the space between them, as well as the ultimate maintenance effort. In general, the shallower the qanat, the closer the vertical shafts. If the qanat is long, excavation may begin from both ends at once. Tributary channels are sometimes also constructed to supplement the water flow.[6][4]


Most qanats in Iran run less than 5 km. The overall length of the qanat often runs up to 16 km, while some have been measured at ~70 km in length near Kerman. The vertical shafts usually range from 20 to 200 meters in depth, although in Iran qanats in the province of Khorasan have been recorded with vertical shafts of up to 275 m. The vertical shafts support construction and maintenance of the underground channel as well as air interchange. Deep shafts require intermediate platforms to simplify the process of removing spoils.[6][4] For the U.S. city, see Kerman, California. ... Map showing the pre-2004 Khorasan Province in Iran Khorasan (Persian: خراسان) (also transcribed as Khurasan and Khorassan, anciently called Traxiane during Hellenistic and Parthian times is currently a region located in north eastern Iran, but historically referred to a much larger area east and north-east of the Persian Empire...


The qanat's water-carrying channel is 50-100 cm wide and 90-150 cm high. The channel must have a sufficient downward slope that water flows easily. However the downward gradient must not be so great as to create conditions under which the water transitions between supercritical and subcritical flow; if this occurs, the waves which are established result in severe erosion and can damage or destroy the qanat. In shorter qanats the downward gradient varies between 1:1000 and 1:1500, while in longer qanats it may be almost horizontal. Such precision is routinely obtained with a spirit level and string.[6][4] In fluid dynamics, the change from one behaviour to the other is often described by so-called critical numbers, where the transition occurs whenever this number becomes less or more than one. ... In fluid dynamics, the change from one behaviour to the other is often described by so-called critical numbers, where the transition occurs whenever this number becomes less or more than one. ...


In cases where the gradient is steeper, underground waterfalls may be constructed with appropriate design features (usually linings) to absorb the energy with minimal erosion. In some cases the water power has been harnessed to drive underground mills. If it is not possible to bring the outlet of the qanat out near the settlement, it is necessary to run a jub or canal overgound. This is avoided when possible to limit pollution, warming and water loss due to evaporation.[6][4]


The construction speed depends on the depth. At 20 meters depth, a crew of 4 people can excavate a horizontal length of 40 meters per day. When the vertical shaft reaches 40 meters, they can only excavate 20 meters horizontally per day and at 60 meters in depth this drops below 5 horizontal meters per day. Deep, long qanats (which many are) require years and even decades to construct.[6][4]


The excavated material is usually transported by means of leather bags up the vertical shafts. It is mounded around the vertical shaft exit, providing a barrier that prevents windblown or rain driven debris from entering the shafts. From the air, these shafts look like a string of bomb craters.[6]


Maintenance

The vertical shafts may be covered to minimize in-blown sand. The channels of qanats must be periodically inspected for erosion or cave-ins, cleaned of sand and mud and otherwise repaired. Air flow must be assured before entry for human safety.


Value

The value of a qanat is directly related to the quality, volume and regularity of the water flow. Much of the population of Iran historically depended upon the water from qanats; the areas of population corresponded closely to the areas where qanats are possible. Although a qanat was expensive to construct, its long-term value to the community, and therefore to the group who invested in building and maintaining it, was substantial. [4]


Other applications for qanats

Distribution systems

Qanats were frequently split into an underground distribution network of smaller canals called kariz when reaching a major city. Like Qanats, these smaller canals were below ground to avoid contamination. In traditional Persian architecture, a Kariz (کاریز) is a small Qanat, usually within a network inside an urban setting. ...


Water storage

An ab anbar with double domes and windcatchers in the central desert city of Naeen, near Yazd.
An ab anbar with double domes and windcatchers in the central desert city of Naeen, near Yazd.

An Ab Anbar is a traditional qanat fed reservoir for drinking water in Persian antiquity. Image File history File linksMetadata AbAnbarNain2. ... Image File history File linksMetadata AbAnbarNain2. ... Nain is a city in central Iran. ... Yazd or Yezd (In Persian: یزد), is the capital of Yazd province, one of the most ancient and historic cities in Iran and a centre of Zoroastrian culture. ... An ab anbar with double domes and windcatchers in the central desert city of Naeen, near Yazd. ...

Cooling

Wind tower and qanat used for cooling.
Wind tower and qanat used for cooling.

Qanats used in conjunction with a wind tower can provide cooling as well as a water supply. A wind tower is a chimney-like structure positioned above the house to catch the prevailing wind. The tower catches the wind, driving a hot, dry breeze into the house; the flow of the incoming air is then directed across the vertical shaft from the qanat. The air flow across the vertical shaft opening creates a lower pressure (see Bernoulli effect) and draws cool air up from the qanat tunnel, mixing with it. The air from the qanat was drawn into the tunnel at some distance away and is cooled both by contact with the cool tunnel walls/water and by the giving up latent heat of evaporation as water evaporates into the air stream. In dry desert climates this can result in a greater than 15°C reduction in the air temperature coming from the qanat; the mixed air still feels dry, so the basement is cool and only comfortably moist (not damp). Wind tower and qanat cooling have been used in desert climates for over 1000 years.[7] Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1050x818, 58 KB) Illustration of use of wind tower and qanat for cooling. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1050x818, 58 KB) Illustration of use of wind tower and qanat for cooling. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with windcatcher. ... Bernoullis Principle states that for an ideal fluid (low speed air is a good approximation), with no work being performed on the fluid, an increase in velocity occurs simultaneously with decrease in pressure or a change in the fluids gravitational potential energy. ... In thermochemistry, latent heat is the amount of energy in the form of heat released or absorbed by a substance during evaporation. ...


Ice storage

In 400 BC Persian engineers had already mastered the technique of storing ice in the middle of summer in the desert. The ice was brought in during the winters from nearby mountains in large quantities, and stored in specially designed, naturally cooled refrigerators called yakhchal (meaning ice pits). A large underground space with thick insulated walls was connected to a qanat, and a system of windcatchers was used to draw cool subterranean air up from the qanat to maintain temperatures inside the space at low levels, even during hot summer days. As a result, the ice melted slowly and ice was available year-round. For other uses of this term see: Persia (disambiguation) The Persian Empire is the name used to refer to a number of historic dynasties that have ruled the country of Persia (Iran). ... Yakh-chal A yakh-chāl is an ancient natural refrigerator. ... A windcatcher (Badgir; بادگیر) is a traditional Persian architectural device used for many centuries to create natural ventilation in buildings. ...


Common terms

Qanat is from the Persian word qanāt, pronounced as ‘kanat’ in Arabic and ‘karez’ in Pashto. A qanat is referred to by different names in different regions: qanat (Iran); karez (Afghanistan and Pakistan); karez (China); qanat romani (Jordan and Syria); khettara (Morocco); galeria (Spain); falaj (United Arab Emirates and Oman); Kahn (Baloch). foggara/fughara is the French translation of the Arabic qanat, used in North Africa although the origin of the name is unknown.[8] Alternative terms for Qanats in Asia and North Africa are kakuriz, chin-avulz, and mayun. Farsi redirects here. ... Pashto (پښتو; also known as Afghan, Pushto, Pashto, Pashtoe, Pashtu, and Pukhto) is the language spoken by the ethnic Afghan otherwise known as the Pashtun people who inhabit Afghanistan and the Western provinces of Pakistan. ... Map showing location of Turfan (upper right) on the Silk Route The Turfan water system (locally called karez water system) in Turfan, located in the Turfan Depression, Xinjiang, China, is a well water collection system that has been listed as one of the three greatest water projects of ancient China...


Common variant spellings/transliterations of qanat in English include kanat, khanat, kunut, kona, konait, ghanat, ghundat.


Closely related to such structures is the karez. Map showing location of Turfan (upper right) on the Silk Route The Turfan water system (locally called karez water system) in Turfan, located in the Turfan Depression, Xinjiang, China, is a well water collection system that has been listed as one of the three greatest water projects of ancient China...


Qanats in practical application

Asia

China

Karez gallery near Turpan, Xinjiang, China
Karez gallery near Turpan, Xinjiang, China
Model of karez well system (Turfan Water Museum) China
Model of karez well system (Turfan Water Museum) China

An oasis at Turpan in the deserts of northwestern China uses water provided by qanat (locally karez). Turfan has long been the center of a fertile oasis and an important trade center along the Silk Road's northern route, at which time it was adjacent to the kingdoms of Korla and Karashahr to the southwest. The historical record of the karez system extends back to the Han Dynasty. The Turfan Water Museum (see photos on this page) is a Protected Area of the People's Republic of China because of the importance of the local karez system to the history of the area. The number of karez systems in the area is slightly below 1,000 and the total length of the canals is about 5,000 kilometers in length.[9] Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2048x1536, 758 KB) Turpan 02/10/2005 es: Karez: es el nombre usado en Asia Central para el sistema de riego también conocido como Qanat. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2048x1536, 758 KB) Turpan 02/10/2005 es: Karez: es el nombre usado en Asia Central para el sistema de riego también conocido como Qanat. ... Map showing location of Turfan (upper right) on the Silk Route The Turfan water system (locally called karez water system) in Turfan, located in the Turfan Depression, Xinjiang, China, is a well water collection system that has been listed as one of the three greatest water projects of ancient China... Turfan (Modern Chinese 吐魯番; pinyin: Tulufan, ancient Chinese Gaochang, also: Kao-chang, Turpan) is an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China. ... For the county in Shanxi province, see Xinjiang County. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1536x2048, 508 KB) Turpan 02/10/2005 es: Karez: es el nombre usado en Asia Central para el sistema de riego también conocido como Qanat. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (1536x2048, 508 KB) Turpan 02/10/2005 es: Karez: es el nombre usado en Asia Central para el sistema de riego también conocido como Qanat. ... Map showing location of Turfan (upper right) on the Silk Route The Turfan water system (locally called karez water system) in Turfan, located in the Turfan Depression, Xinjiang, China, is a well water collection system that has been listed as one of the three greatest water projects of ancient China... Turfan (Modern Chinese 吐魯番; pinyin: Tulufan, ancient Chinese Gaochang, also: Kao-chang, Turpan) is an oasis city in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of the Peoples Republic of China. ... Han Dynasty in 87 BC Capital Changan (202 BC–9 AD) Luoyang (25 AD–190 AD) Language(s) Chinese Religion Taoism, Confucianism Government Monarchy History  - Establishment 206 BC  - Battle of Gaixia; Han rule of China begins 202 BC  - Interruption of Han rule 9 - 24  - Abdication to Cao Wei 220... Take note that many protected areas in China have multiple official designations, and the statutory boundaries of these multi-designated PAs may be identical or varied. ... Map showing location of Turfan (upper right) on the Silk Route The Turfan water system (locally called karez water system) in Turfan, located in the Turfan Depression, Xinjiang, China, is a well water collection system that has been listed as one of the three greatest water projects of ancient China...


Pakistan

The Chagai district is in the north west corner of Balochistan, Pakistan, bordering with Afghanistan and Iran. Karez's are found more broadly in this region. They are spread from Chaghai district all the way up to Zhob district. A number of them are present in Qilla Abduallah and Pishin districts. Karez's are also extensively found in the neighbouring areas of Afghanistan like Kandahar. The remains of qanats (called karezes) found in different parts of the district are attributed to the Arabs. See also: Book_of_Haggai Haggai (חַגַּי, Standard Hebrew and Tiberian Hebrew Ḥaggay) was one of the twelve so-called minor prophets and the author of the Book of Haggai. ... The Districts of Pakistan form the third tier of government in Pakistan, ranking as subdivisions of the provinces of Pakistan. ... Balochistan, or Ballsforchinstan, Balochi, Pashto, Urdu: بلوچستان) is a province in Pakistan, the largest in the country by geographical area. ... For other uses, see Arab (disambiguation). ...


Iran

About four-fifths of the water used in the plateau regions of Iran is brought to use in this way. However, because agriculture is less and less practiced in Iran, the qanats that are being made now are not as effective as those made in the past because knowledge of how to make them is being lost. Also, the construction and maintenance of a qanat is unpleasant and dangerous, and modern technology allows water to be pumped from a drilled well. Hence although qanats still exist, they are falling out of use. Most rivers in Iran are seasonal and have traditionally not been able to supply the needs of urban settlements. ... For other uses, see Plateau (disambiguation). ...


The oldest and largest known qanat is in the Iranian city of Gonabad which after 2700 years still provides drinking and agricultural water to nearly 40,000 people. Its main well depth is more than 360 meters and its length is 45 kilometers. Yazd and Kerman are the also known zones for their dependence with an extensive system of qanats. Gonabad (گناباد in Persian) is a city in the south of Khorasan, Iran. ... Village pump redirects here, for information on Wikipedia project-related discussions, see Wikipedia:Village pump. ... Yazd or Yezd (In Persian: یزد), is the capital of Yazd province, one of the most ancient and historic cities in Iran and a centre of Zoroastrian culture. ... For the U.S. city, see Kerman, California. ...


In traditional Persian architecture, a Kariz (کاریز) is a small Qanat, usually within a network inside an urban setting. Kariz is what distributes the Qanat into its final destinations. (see also Traditional water sources of Persian antiquity and Ab Anbar) The Baháí House of Worship by Fariborz Sahba, also known as the Lotus Temple. ... Most rivers in Iran are seasonal and have traditionally not been able to supply the needs of urban settlements. ...


Syria

Qanats were found over much of Syria. The widespread installation of groundwater pumps has lowered the water table and antiquated the old qanat system. Qanats have gone dry and been abandoned across the country.[10]


Arabian Peninsula

United Arab Emirates

The oasis of Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates continues traditional falaj (qanat) irrigations for the palm-groves and gardens. Evidence suggests the technology has been in use for 3000 years here.[11] Alain was also the pseudonym of Emile Auguste Chartier. ...


Oman

A ribbon of oases, watered by wells and underground channels (falaj), extends the length of the Oman plain, extending about ten kilometers inland. Nizwa was the capital city of Oman proper was built around a falaj (qanat) which is in use to this day. Nizwas enormous fort Nizwa (Arabic: ) is a city in Oman and was the capital of Oman proper. ... Not to be confused with capitol. ...


In July 2006, the five representative examples of this irrigation system were inscribed as a World Heritage Site. A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a specific site (such as a forest, mountain, lake, desert, monument, building, complex, or city) that has been nominated and confirmed for inclusion on the list maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 State...


North Africa

Egypt

There are 4 main oases in the Egyptian desert. The Kharga Oasis is one of them which has been extensively studied. As early as the second half of the 5th century BC there is evidence that water was being used via qanats. The qanat is excavated through water-bearing sandstone rock which seeps into the channel to collect in a basin behind a small dam at the end. The width is approximately 60 cm, but the height ranges from 5 to 9 meters; it is likely that the qanat was deepened to enhance seepage when the water table dropped (as is also seen in Iran). From there the water was used to irrigate fields. [12][6]


There is another instructive structure located at the Kharga Oasis. A well which apparently dried up was improved by driving a side shaft through the easily penetrated sandstone (presumably in the direction of greatest water seepage) into the hill of Ayn-Manâwîr to allow collection of additional water. After this side shaft had been extended, another vertical shaft was driven to intersect the side shaft. Side chambers were built and holes bored into the rock—presumably at points where water seeped from the rocks—are evident.[12]


Libya

David Mattingley reports foggara extending for hundreds of miles in the Garamantes area near Jarma in Libya: "The channels were generally very narrow - less than 2 feet wide and 5 high - but some were several miles long, and in total some 600 foggara extended for hundreds of miles underground. The channels were dug out and maintained using a series of regularly-spaced vertical shafts, one every 30 feet or so, 100,000 in total, averaging 30 feet in depth, but sometimes reaching 130." ("The 153 Club Newsletter", July 2007 No. 112, pp.14-19; reprinted from Current world Archaeology. The Garamantes were a Saharan Berber-speaking people who used an elaborate underground irrigation system, and founded a kingdom in the Fezzan area of modern-day Libya, in the Sahara desert. ...


Tunisia

The foggara water management system in Tunisia, used to create oases, is similar to that of the Iranian qanat. The foggara is dug into the foothills of a fairly steep mountain range such as the eastern ranges of the Atlas mountains. Rainfall in the mountains enters the aquifer and moves toward the Saharan region to the south. The foggara, 1 to 3 km in length, penetrates the aquifer and collects water. Families maintain the foggara and own the land it irrigates over a ten meter wide, with width only by the size of plot that the available water will irrigate.[13] Map showing the location of the Atlas Mountains (colored red) across North Africa The Atlas Mountains (Arabic: ‎) are a mountain range in northwest Africa extending about 2,400 km (1,500 miles) through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, and including The Rock of Gibraltar. ...


Algeria

Water "metering" through a distribution weir on a foggara in Algeria
Water "metering" through a distribution weir on a foggara in Algeria

Qanats (designated foggaras in Algeria) are the source of water for irrigation at large oases like that at Gourara. The foggaras are also found at Touat (an area of Adrar 200 km from Gourara). The length of the foggaras in this region is estimated to be thousands of kilometers. Image File history File links Foggara_02. ... Image File history File links Foggara_02. ... The bridge and weir mechanism at Sturminster Newton on the River Stour, Dorset. ... Oasis in the Libyan part of the Sahara In geography, an oasis is an isolated area of vegetation in a desert, typically surrounding a spring or similar water source. ... Disambiguation: Tuat is Vietnamese for the year of the dog. Further information: twat Tuat (Tawat or, in French, Touat) is a Berber name for a people living in the north of Algeria. ... Disambiguation: Tuat is Vietnamese for the year of the dog. Tuat (Tawat or, in French, Touat) is a Berber name for a people living in the north of Algeria. ...


Although sources suggest that the foggaras may have been in use as early as 200 AD, they were clearly in use by the 11th century after the Arabs took possession of the oases in the 10th century and imposed the Islamic religion upon the residents.


The water is metered to the various users through the use of distribution weirs which meter flow to the various canals, each for a separate user. The bridge and weir mechanism at Sturminster Newton on the River Stour, Dorset. ...


The humidity of the oases is also used to supplement the water supply to the foggara. The temperature gradient in the vertical shafts causes air to rise by natural convection, causing a draft to enter the foggara. The moist air of the agricultural area is drawn into the foggara in the opposite direction to the water run-off. In the foggara it condenses on the tunnel walls and the air passed out of the vertical shafts. This condensed moisture is available for reuse. [14]


Morocco

In southern Morocco the qanat (locally khettara) is also used. On the margins of the Sahara Desert, the isolated oases of the Draa River valley and Tafilalt have relied on qanat water for irrigation since the late-14th century. In Marrakech and the Haouz plain the qanats have been abandoned since the early 1970s as they've dried; in the Tafilaft area half of the 400 khettaras are still in use. The Hassan Adahkil Dam's impacts on local water tables is said to be one of the many reasons given for the loss of half of the khettara.[10] The Draa (Arabic: درأ) (also spelled Dra or Draâ, in older sources mostly Darha or Dara) is Moroccos longest river (1100 km). ...


The black berbers of the south are the hereditary class of qanat diggers in Morocco who build and repair these systems. Their work is hazardous.[8]


Europe

Spain

There are still many examples of galeria or qanat systems in Spain, most likely brought to the area by the Moors during their occupation of the Iberian peninsula. Turrillas in Andalusia on the north facing slopes of the Sierra de Alhamilla has evidence of a qanat system. Granada is another site with an extensive qanat system.[15] For other uses, see moor. ... The Iberian Peninsula, or Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe, and includes modern day Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar. ... Turrillas (popn. ... For other uses, see Andalusia (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Granada (disambiguation). ...


Italy

The entire ancient town of Palermo in Sicily has been built over a huge qanat system built during the Arab period (827-1072). Many of the qanat are now mapped and some can be visited. An interesting building is the famous Scirocco room, which has an air refreshing system using the flux of waters of a qanat and a "wind tower", a structure able to catch the wind and direct it into the room. For other uses, see Palermo (disambiguation). ... Sicily ( in Italian and Sicilian) is an autonomous region of Italy and the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, with an area of 25,708 km² (9,926 sq. ...


The Americas

Qanats in the Americas can be found in the Atacama regions of Peru, and Chile at Nazca and Pica.[10] The Spanish introduced qanats into Mexico in 1520 AD.[16]


See also

Yakh-chal A yakh-chāl is an ancient natural refrigerator. ... Most rivers in Iran are seasonal and have traditionally not been able to supply the needs of urban settlements. ... Menara surrounded by the gardens. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Etymological Conduit to the Land of Qanat. Retrieved on 2007-09-28.
  2. ^ Ahmad Y Hassan, Transfer Of Islamic Technology To The West, Part Ii: Transmission Of Islamic Engineering
  3. ^ Transmission of Islamic Tecnology - Qanat. www.history-science-technology.com. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Kheirabadi, Masoud (1991). Iranian Cities: Formation and Development. University of Texas Press. ISBN 0-292-78517-8. 
  5. ^ Of these only 25,000 remain in use as of 1980.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Smith, Anthony (1953). Blind White Fish in Persia. London, George Allen & Unwin. ISBN none. 
  7. ^ Bahadori, M. N. titled "Passive Cooling Systems in Iranian Architecture" Scientific American, February 1978, pages 144-154.
  8. ^ a b Article titled Etymological Conduit to the Land of Qanat by Dr. V. Sankaran Nair, 2004
  9. ^ Oasis at Turpan in northwestern China uses water provided by karez.
  10. ^ a b c http://www.waterhistory.org/histories/qanats/ History from Waterhistory.org]
  11. ^ Arabian wildlife article
  12. ^ a b Michel Wuttmann, "The Qanats of 'Ayn-Manâwîr, Kharga Oasis, Egypt", in Jasr 2001, p. 1 (pdf).
  13. ^ "Water: symbolism and culture"
  14. ^ An excellent UNESCO article with numerous clear photographs showing the Foggara in Algeria
  15. ^ http://www.ucm.es/BUCM/revistas/ghi/02143038/articulos/ELEM8484120249A.PDF Water supplies in Granada (Spanish)] A good visible qanat can be seen to the west of the church of San Lorenzo, a suburb of Segovia, irrigating what were huertas (market gardens).
  16. ^ Libyan web site on qanats

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 271st day of the year (272nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Ahmad Y. al Hassan (born 1925) Chevalier of the Legion d’Honneur: Historian of Islamic and Arabic science and technology. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ... is the 295th day of the year (296th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Homayoun Motiee et al., "Assessment of the Contributions of Traditional Qanats in Sustainable Water Resources Management", International Journal of Water Resources Development, Vol. 22, No. 4. (December 2006), p. 575-588.

External links

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  Results from FactBites:
 
Etymological Conduit to the Land of Qanat by Dr. V. Sankaran Nair (2687 words)
Qanat is an ancient system found in arid regions that bring groundwater from the cliff, or base of a mountainous area, following a water-bearing formation (aquifer) or rarely from rivers, and emerge at an oasis, through underground tunnel or a series of tunnels.
Floods and cave-ins in the qanat tunnels are frequent, and deaths among muqannis occur.
The word qanat, pronounced as ‘kanat’ in Arabic and karez in Pashto is kanerjing in China, qanat romani in Jordan and Syria.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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