[permaculture] Qanats, ancient water system.

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Fri Mar 2 05:37:01 EST 2012

On 3/1/2012 11:44 PM, Lawrence F. London, Jr. wrote:
> Here is a nice video on qanats:
> "The Qanats of Iran"
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyfj6sZVZEA

In Iran alone there are thousands of kilometers of qanats! Just think of 
that. There are links from the movie Qanats Of Iran to many dozens of 
videos on qanats all over the world, including a research project on 
qanats by an American professor who did field work in Syria and 
Kurdistan in Iraq. Iran was known in ancient times as the Breadbasket of 
the Middle East. I find that fascinating. I am sure those farmers' 
success was inextricably linked to their qanat system.

Key line plowing is a method using an Australian Keyline Plow to deep 
subsoil and plow the earth. It is used to create a system of thin, deep 
water infiltration channels across grades (like a mountain switchback 
road) to direct water downhill to sites where it is needed, i.e. 
catchment ponds or reservoirs or irrigation canals. This method catches 
rainfall that otherwise would be washed away unused by allowing it to 
infiltrate a network of channels that direct it in an orderly way to 
storage sites.

It would seem that a keyline system and qanats would be a perfect
combination. Upslope water infiltration providing additional water for 
the origin of the qanat could be improved with development of a keyline 
system on slopes above the first qanat borehole. It would seem that with 
modern excavating, trenching and tunneling equipment boreholes could be 
made that could be connected by tunnels and trenches with reinforced 
concrete pipe set in each to form a permanent water collection and 
conduit system. Of course you could just find a water source along a 
slope, dig a well and pump the water out but there are still plenty of 
reasons why a traditional qanat is a better system: less evaporation and 
ground seepage, no energy required to move the water and possibly purer 
water at the destination.

There is plenty of need for this amazing technology here in the United 
States as we face increased drought conditions. This could provide 
irrigation water for small farms growing food for local populations. 
Bring ancient proven methods to the modern era and use
state of the art equipment to install the qanats.

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