Qan?t Fir'aun

An Underground Roman Water System in Syria and Jordan

Authored by: Mathias Döring

Underground Aqueducts Handbook

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781498748308
eBook ISBN: 9781315368566
Adobe ISBN:


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The most northerly part of Jordan—part of the Roman province of Syria—is made up of highland lying between 350 m and 550 m above sea level. The edges of the highland are jagged and the deeply incised valleys descend in the west to the Jordan, 200 m below sea level, and in the north to its largest tributary, the Yarmuk (Figure 11.1). These two rivers are the only ones that retain their flow throughout the year; all others have a periodic characteristic. At the edge of the Jordan Rift Valley, a winter rainfall of 350–500 mm makes crop farming possible. Further east, where rainfall is lower and does not exceed 200 mm, this crop farming is replaced by pasture farming. The evaporation of 2200 mm and the low capacity of the springs indicate a significant water deficit. An additional factor is the wide variation (between 200 mm and 900 mm)**

Irbid: Precipitation 1954–2006: 420 mm/a; 1938–2005: 476 mm/a (280–890 mm/a), Evaporation 2179 mm/a (Obeidat et al. 2008, p. 429, fig. 3).

in annual rainfall, which would destabilize any water supply system without storage capacity.

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