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Traditional Systems of Water Harvesting in Iran
[ N Talebbeydokhti ] - Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Head of Center for Environmental
[ S Ghaffari ] - M.Sc. Student, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Shiraz
Environmental studies of the present and past communities prove the significance and role of water in the development of areas. Past experiences have revealed that exploitation of small-scale water resources play an important role in promoting social cooperation, flourishing rural economy, reducing unemployment, and through all this, environmentally suitable rural and national development. Traditional water harvesting systems basically rely on resource conservation and protection; they lack the disadvantageous overexploitation and overuse of modern systems. They have met domestic and irrigation water needs of the people. The available historical and archaeological evidence suggests that effective systems of water management had been established and were being operated by small communities in many parts of the world. In Iran people have been supplying their domestic and agricultural water needs through a multitude of usually innovative systems and methods like Abanbars, Qanats, Abbandans and Degars, according to their variable geographical and climate conditions. The invention and operation of Qanats is a masterpiece among the traditional systems of groundwater development which is three thousand years old. Weirs and other structures of surface water harvesting, conveyance and distribution systems such as Bahman diversion dam, Amir diversion dam, Choghazanbil water distribution system dating back to about 2000 to 3000 years ago are a few examples of the Iranian history in water works. These systems of water harvesting are important from social, cultural, economical, sustainable development, tourist attractions, and cultural heritage aspects. They also can be used as a reservoir in emergency cases and integrating them into modern technologies will optimize their proper use. The main objective of this paper is to investigate and give recommendations for suitable advancements in revitalizing and restoring the traditional systems, specifying their advantages and determining procedures for their optimization and integration with modern systems.
Water harvesting; Traditional methods; Abanbar; Qanat; Abbandan; Degar.