Los Qanat (galerias) son estructuras milerarias que se usan para transferir agua a traves del desierto en una red subterranea de gran complejidad. Su origen se puede atribuir hasta el imperio persa en el siglo 7 Antes de Cristo. Este link tiene referencias al sistema, incluyendo un video de 17 minutos de la UNESCO (http://www.metafilter.com/89011/The-Desert-is-alive). Es la version desertica del acueducto romano. De acuerdo a Wikipedia el origen de esta tecnologia es persa y se disperso a todo el mundo conocido. Aqui les incluyo el articulo de Wikipedia:
Es fascinante que los persas (y luego las diferentes razas hasta los iranies de hoy en dia) ya dominaran aspectos termodinamicos e hidraulicos para no solo transferir agua de riego, sino tambien para sistemas de enfriamiento usando viento desertico con humedad (evaporative cooling). Miles de años atras. No es un Carrier Mini split con inversor, pero por lo menos no requiere energia electrica para operar ninguno de sus componentes. Es Low Tech y sobre todo sustentable.
Una imagen como esta, en Iran, da una idea del paraiso que se obtiene al transferir el agua por el canal de riego. Aqui el link, mostrando unas apepitosas granadas:
El agua en el desierto es entonces fuente de poder, y de conflictos. Algo asi como Arrakis en Dune donde el control del agua es fundamental para el poder politico de los rebeldes. Mas de esta historia se presenta en los siguientes links:
Qanats have existed on the mile-high plateau of Iran for at least two
millennia. (2) English stated in 1968 that qanats appear to have originated in
the vicinity of Armenia more than 2,500 years ago (circa 500 B.C.) and spread
rapidly throughout southwest Asia and north Africa during Achaemenid times (550
to 331 B.C.). (10) Beaumont continues:
Certainly by 209 B.C. qanats were an important feature of the Persian landscape and were described by Polybius [Greek historian, ca, 203-120 B.C.] during the campaign of Antiochus [III, the Great, sixth ruler of the Seleucid Empire, ca. 241-187 B.C.] against Arsaces [I, King of Parthia, ca. 250-211 B.C.]. In his description, Polybius records how Arsaces tried to destroy the qanats and so cut off the water supply in order to halt the advance of Antiochus towards the lost Parthian captial of Hecatompylos. Althouth the methods of qanat constuction were carried westwards into the Mediterranean and subsequently into Latin Amierca, qanat and qanat systems attained their maximum development in Iran. (2)
Anthony Smith adds, “Qanat is a word of Assyrian or Akkadian origin and came via the Hebrew and Aramaic languages to be used in Persia. But this type of water channel is definitely Persian in origin and was origianlly called kariz; somehow the word qanat has ousted the word kariz, which is now used only in Afghanistan. Polybius makes the first reference to them in describing the wars of 209 B.C. But although the word qanat may have originated well prior to this date, it is not known when it acquired its present meaning. It is probable that qanats are as old as the towns in those parts of Persia where water does not flow either on or just beneath the surface.” (11)
Pero entonces, asi no mas llego el progreso. Al usar pozos profundos y el riego occidentalizado, esta tecnologia se vuelve obsoleta. Del mismo articulo:
In 1971, qanat expert Beaumont stated his belief that the future of qanats
in Iran is limited. (2) He wrote, “Although the qanat has served Iran over the
length of historical record as a supplier of water for irrigation and
domestic purposes, its lack of controllability in terms of water discharge has
meant that it is now unsuited for uses in schemes aimed at the optimum use of
water supplies. At the present time it seems likely that Iran will become
increasingly committed to a programme of water supply dependent on large scale
surface water schemes and the controlled use of groundwater through pumped
wells. In the latter case, in order to obtain higher yields or more water it is
necessary to have steeper groundwater gradients and larger drawdowns. The effect
of this is a lowering of the groundwater level and the drainage of many of the
shallower qanats. In the future it seems likely that the qanat will continue to
decline in importance as a supplier of water and may disappear completely in
areas of high population density or good quality agricultural land where
investment capital for modern integrated water schemes is available. In remote
areas of low population density and in areas of low or poor yielding aquifers
the qanat will, however, still have an important role to play in the supply of
irrigation water for many years to come.” (2)
Was Beaumont correct about
Iran’s water strategy of departing from qanat irrigation technology and turning
to large scale surface water schemes? Apparently, the answer is yes. Most
drinking water today in Iran comes from deep wells and newly dammed reservoirs.
(18-19) Long-distance water transmission pipelines carry the water to users.
About 60,000 qanat systems in the plateau regions of Iran (Yazd, Khorasan and
Kerman) remain in use for irrigation and drinking water in small towns and rural
areas, as described above.
Up to 1990 the water and sanitation sector in Iran was highly decentralized, says one source. (18) “Most water and wastewater service provision was the responsibility of municipalities and provinces. This was changed through a fundamental sector reform in 1990 with the ratification of the Provincial Water and Wastewater Companies Law of September 1990. In September 2003 the Government of Iran and the World Bank agreed on a sector strategy with the targets for improved cost recovery and collection and increased efficiency. [20-21] It is not clear what were the baseline data in 2003 and to what extent progress has been made to reach these targets.” (18) In
November 2008, the Government of Iran announced that it will construct 177 dams
Un poco mas en Historia:
Y en estudio
Y finalmente, la guerra como siempre, viene a alterarlo todo. Entran los estadounidenses, que desconocen lo que hay en el subsuelo y como parte de una remodelacion a una base arruinan varias vias de una red de irrigacion que nunca marcaron en un mapa. Esa historia la presenta Wall Street Jornal en el link debajo:
Deep beneath the desolate landscape here are miles of canals that have
watered wheat fields and vineyards for untold generations. They're also at the
center of a dispute that handed the Taliban a propaganda victory and angered the
very people the U.S. military hopes to win over through its troop
Rushing to expand a base to fit the new forces, American commanders
seized farmland and built on top of these ancient underground-irrigation
systems. The blunder is an indication of how fragile the effort to win public
backing for the U.S.-led war can be. In some cases, the tension is over civilian
casualties; in others, it's about the corruption of U.S. allies in the Afghan
government. Here, it's an accidental clash of infrastructure technologies
separated by a few yards of dirt and 3,000 years.
Rahmatullah, right, an elder from near Forward Operating Base Wolverine in Zabul province, complains about the U.S. base's expansion.
Now American and Afghan officials are scrambling to mend relations with the farmers, dispatching a mullah to pray with them, a lawyer to pay them and engineers to redesign the base to accommodate them.
"If before we put the first U.S. soldier on the ground, we alienate the
closest village to the...base, we're putting the thing in reverse before we even
get started," says Lt. Col. William "Clete" Schaper, lead engineer on the
expansion of Forward Operating Base Wolverine, one of more than two dozen U.S.
posts being enlarged.
The underground canals, called karez, originated in southwest Persia
around 1,000 B.C. before migrating to Afghanistan. When Genghis Khan invaded in
1221 A.D., locals took shelter there. They did the same after the Soviets
invaded in 1979. In some parts of Afghanistan today, insurgent fighters use the
tunnels to ambush coalition troops and escape unseen.
Karezgay is in Zabul Province, or "Talibanistan," as U.S. officers here
joke. Zabul is an ideal candidate for some of the 21,000 new troops that
President Barack Obama has directed to Afghanistan. Entire districts of the
province are insurgent-controlled, and coalition forces here are barely
sufficient to protect the highway that passes through Zabul.
The goal is for new troops to clear out insurgents, allowing Afghan
authorities to win local allegiance with education, health care, security and
other services. But the troops will need a place to stay, so last fall the Army
started planning to expand FOB Wolverine, now a small post, to accommodate 1,000
soldiers, a helicopter battalion and a 6,000-foot runway. The base perimeter has
expanded to two miles around; engineers expect that to triple in the near
future. "It was an engineer looking at a map and saying, 'We need this much
room,' and drawing a box," says Lt. Col. Schaper.
The Army didn't take into account the karez, which consist of hand-dug
underground canals that carry water from aquifers in the hills to villages and
fields. Every 50 or so feet is a vertical shaft used for maintenance. The system
irrigates about 75% of Zabul's grapes, wheat and almonds.
The karez "are the
linchpin of their entire civilization here," says Capt. Paul Tanghe, who advises
the Afghan National Army battalion in Karezgay.
In December, Capt. Tanghe and other U.S. advisers noticed surveying
work under way, figured out the Army had big plans and realized locals would be
in an uproar. They emailed Lt. Col. Schaper, warning of the expansion's likely
impact. U.S. and Afghan officials then invited village elders to Karezgay for a
meeting, called a shura, to discuss the plans.
The Taliban were a step ahead. They hosted their own shura at the
mosque, where they preached an anti-U.S. message, according to Capt.
The elders left the mosque and walked to the district center for the
government shura. Coalition officials touted the benefits of jobs and an
airfield, to little effect. One by one, each elder mouthed the Taliban-approved
line: The U.S. Army is here to steal land, destroy the karez and force the
locals to move. One mullah charged that airplanes would cause pregnant women to
lose their babies, Capt. Tanghe says.
Just one village, Bao Kala, spoke in support of the expansion, an act
defying the Taliban. One night last fall, Taliban militants burst into the home
of a Bao Kala elder and schoolteacher, Bismillah Amin, 42. They frog-marched him
barefoot for more than a mile to a gathering of armed fighters, who ordered him
to stop teaching. To reinforce the warning, they sliced off his left ear.
After the shura, the coalition sent a veterinarian to de-worm livestock
in Bao Kala and funded a project to clean out its tunnels.
In late February, with the surge approaching, crews began expanding FOB
Wolverine's boundaries, absorbing neighboring fields and vertical openings of
the karez system.
In March, the Army sent a hydrologist to study the impact
that construction was having on water supplies in one village. "The resulting
water production loss experienced by Bowragay Village karez system supports
Taliban claims of base expansion negatively impacting the community and
confounds counterinsurgency operations," the hydrologist's internal report
Last month, U.S. Gen. David McKiernan, the top allied commander in
Afghanistan until he was ousted earlier this week, visited Zabul and found
himself buttonholed by angry elders. The expansion, they said, was destroying
their livelihoods. Gen. McKiernan ordered a coalition lawyer, Col. Jody
Prescott, to Karezgay and arrange compensation.
Afghan officials called another shura late last month. An Afghan army
mullah opened the event by reciting verses from the Koran. Soldiers posted a
blue banner that read, "Islam unifies our nation."
Lt. Col. Schaper took the podium. "Once we establish security, we'll be
able to grow the district both economically and with our education programs," he
said. "We realize it does us no good to expand the base and bring security, if
we ruin your crops."
Salamuddin, a 48-year-old farmer with a black turban and a fierce black
gaze, swept to the podium to speak. U.S. barbed wire now crosses his property,
he said, and 160 acres of it are on the other side. "The karez is the main
source of water for the village, but the Army has taken our karez and now it's
inside the base," he said. "The village is nothing without our karez." He
shouted to the other elders: "Do you want your rights?"
"Yes!" they yelled back.
Lt. Col. Schaper pleaded for patience. "If we can avoid karezes and
orchards, we will do that," he promised. "We are not going to come in and take
anyone's land without compensation."
Col. Prescott spent two weeks walking property lines and assessing
damage claims, while Army engineers modified the base design. The original plan,
for instance, put a waste-water treatment plant on top of a karez. The new plan
puts it where it won't disturb anything.
The Army realizes it stumbled with FOB Wolverine, and that if it fails
to assuage local concerns, it risks confirming the Taliban message. Commanders
also see an upside. Resolving the issue could strengthen the government's weak
position in Talibanistan.
"We're fighting a counterinsurgency, and it's all about narratives,"
Capt. Tanghe said after the shura. "It doesn't matter what really happened. It
matters what they think happened."
Pero los americanos no fueron los unicos. Los rusos fueron primero y antes hubo otros, desde la era de genghis Khan. Resumiendo, el agua es necesaria. Debemos enfocar recursos a manejar el agua que tenemos correctamente en vez de simplemente tirarla de nuevo al mar. Vwer mi articulo previo (http://alcantarillaalquimica.blogspot.com/2009/12/necesitamos-empezar-reusar-agua.html). Y finalmente vemos el ingenio de gentes que se vieron forzados a vivir en un lugar inhospito.