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Durham University

Department of Archaeology


Publication details for Dr Mark Manuel

Manuel, Mark, Lightfoot, Dale & Fattahi, Morteza (2017). The sustainability of ancient water control techniques in Iran: an overview. Water History 10(1): 13-30.

Author(s) from Durham


Qanats are a traditional source of water management that exists throughout much of the Middle East, and extending into North Africa, Spain and South Asia. In particular, they have played an important role in managing the supply of water throughout Iran for over two millennia in what is an arguably a sustainable manner. With water scarcity playing a prominent role in the modern world, qanats offer a practical, low cost solution to these issues. This paper looks at the early development of qanats in Iran, the important role they played in revolutionising the settlement systems and sustainability of communities in the past, and how they are now being reinvigorated to provide sustainable water in the present in Iran and other countries.