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Threat to foggara in Saharan life

About the blog

Farzad Rahnama
I am Iranian and studied in Chemical engineering but my last 12 years work experience has always been related to Health, Safety and Environment in energy sectors. I currently work part of HSE team of a gas plant in Algeria.
  • Threat to foggara in Saharan life

FOGGARA is an international cultural inheritance since it exists in only 50 countries all over the world. Known as QANÂT in Iran, KHETTARA in Morocco, KARIZ in Pakistan and in Afghanistan and FOGGARA in Algeria.

Foggara is an underground structure built (Pipeline) that supplies the gardens in palm groves, where it is not possible to dig wells. It can have a 2- to 10 or 15 kilometers. Pipes after gentle slope (a few millimeters per meter height difference) and run for about 5 or 10 meters below the ground surface. The actual foggara has sufficient diameter (1 m to 1.20 m) for the displacement of a bent man, worker progressing from downstream to upstream at the time of drilling and circulating workers to perform maintenance. On the surface, the debris cones (kind of looks) or masonry works mark out the path of the foggara (and water) between the web and the receiving basin. All built from 12 to 15 meters, these cones protect the hole at the same time they allow to monitor the flow and, if necessary, to take to the foggara to clear the precise point of the gallery that may be obstructed. At the outlet of each water pipe is accommodated in a basin.

The ingenuity of the process lies in its design and its adaptation to the conditions of life and the Saharan climate: it suppressed the strenuous fetching water, which took most of the time the inhabitants, and ensured a constant flow supply, without risk of drying up the water table and limiting evaporation to a minimum. However, one of the main risks to this cultural heritage nowadays instead of lack of maintenance or water consumption by habitants is more phenomena of industrial project development in Saharan areas. Then the life of foggaras will vary also to water capture from underground basins by these under developing industrial projects. Therefore, it is crucial when there is going to be a project in Saharan perform proper Environmental and Societal study to identify social and environmental impact on underground water and implement monitoring and manage plans for underground water because excessive water capture and or inadequate control from industries activities that may cause underground water pollutions means end up to foggaras with a huge price to local habitants. 

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