“It may surprise many Iranians living in the country’s dense and sprawling desert capital to know that millions of cubic liters of water are wasted every day. But where? Underground mostly, although occasionally modern construction projects smack up against an ancient irrigation system called quanats, resulting in devastating water losses and other destruction.
How to revive one of the world’s most sustainable water irrigation systems that only relies on dynamic aquifers is the focus of an upcoming workshop in Tehran entitled Mesopolis. Although months away, the September workshop led by HydroCity – a Toronto-based academic research team, could use a fiscal boost.
The Root of Iranian Civilization
“The quanats are at the root of the Iranian Civilization, without which we would not exist as a people,” Iranian architect and HydroCity director Sara Kamalvand explained to Green Prophet in a recent email.
“Modernization has had the power to erase, in a short time span of 50 years, the most vital element of our society. We are critical of this kind of culture that erases identity, that erases everything. Tehran has become a generic city, and re-appraising these invisible ruins, is a way to claim back the Iranian identity,” she added.
An irrigation system that passively collects melted snow, transporting it from the mountains to a once-thriving agricultural center, was deserted in the 1960s, but water continues to pulse through a complex network of 1,200 underground canals.”
Read more: Green Prophet