Urgent Evoke

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Ancient Wells in the Desert - Water & Future Desertification

How do you find water in the desert, arid climates, and future deserts (desertification)?

Ancient wells (khettaras) in Morocco:

An ancient solution to creating a reliable water supply in the desert was developed in Iran more than 3,000 years ago. Qanats are man-made subterranean tunnels that lead groundwater to the surface for irrigation. Today these wells are found in the Middle East, Asia, North Africa and Europe.

Cross-section of an ancient well (qanat):

This ancient well relies on gravity. A series of vertical shafts is built, often starting under the foothills of mountains. These shafts are connected by gently sloping tunnels.

The wells can deliver large quantities of subterranean water without the need for pumping. Water is transported over long distance in hot dry climates without significant loss due to seepage and evaporation.

An important advantage of the qanat system is it's relatively immune to natural disasters (earthquakes, floods) and destruction during war.

Further reading:

Views: 2764

Comment by Sarah Shaw Tatoun on May 3, 2010 at 2:37am
Excellent post, Jean, thank you. Are these similar to the Afghan wells and tunnels, do you know?
Comment by Jean Frankly on May 3, 2010 at 2:15pm
Sarah, thanks for your comments.

I'm not sure how the ancient wells (Kariz) in Afghanistan function. The lack of skilled artisans who have the traditional knowledge to rebuild these wells destroyed by warfare, reinforces the timeliness of this Evoke assignment.

Comment by Paul Holze on May 9, 2010 at 10:10pm


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