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  • 4/13/2013

Kariz: Ancient Water System (part 2)


Maintenance of Qanats

Kariz routes need to be regularly cleaned and maintained: They are subject to damage and destruction by flash floods. To prevent shafts from being filled with sand, they are covered by stone slabs or other objects.

The people involved in digging and maintaining kariz systems or qanat are called Moqannies. They suffer great inconvenience in performing their laborious jobs.

They carry castor-oil lamps to test the ventilation underground. If the air does not keep the flame alight, another shaft is sunk.

They clear the deposited sediments formed by minerals at the bottom of the aqueducts. In case of damages, nothing can be done, which means water would not be accessible in the kariz water-supplied areas.

Damages could include the falling in of the ceiling of aqueducts or walls of shafts, the accumulation of sediments, sands or mud in the underground galleries, or the blockage of subterranean waterways.

It is worth knowing that moqannies of Yazd in central Iran are well known for their skills to work professionally on qanat projects.

Vitality of Kariz Systems

Without kariz, many human settlements could not emerge. Also, there would be no oases to turn later into large cities like Hamedan, Qazvin, Neyshabour, Kerman, Yazd and a lot more smaller cities and towns.

In these regions, no piece of land could have been cultivated either.

Since ancient times, there have been laws as to how to distribute water fairly among various small and large villages on the kariz routes to prevent any disagreements resulting in consequent disorder, clashes or disturbances.

However, kariz still remains to be the principal, and in some cases, the only source of irrigation and domestic water supply in many parts of Iran. But in areas with more densely-populated districts, kariz has lost its importance as the main source of water supply.

Finally, as an integral part of society in ancient Iran, kariz has had a key impact on many aspects of local communities.

Source: Iran Daily

Other links:

History of Minarets

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