Qana–t Evolution and Use in Libya

Authored by: Abdulgader Abufayed

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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Qan?ts have been the major source of water supply for domestic and agricultural uses in some regions in Libya. These regions are characterized by arid and semiarid climatic conditions, absence of surface water sources with year-round flows, such as rivers and lakes, and availability of good quality water near the naturally sloping ground surface and close to potentially fertile areas. Archaeological evidence indicates that the first underground hydraulic works, in fact qan?ts in Libya, appeared around 500 BC (English 1968; Mattingly et al. 1999; Werner and Savage 2004; Wilson 2009). Their use was favored in arable areas with no surface water resources and where groundwater table was high, and sloping topography allowed free surface downstream flow from the water source. Water flowing from qan?ts was regularly and reliably protected from pollution and heat and was made less prone to the adverse effects of natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods and insensitive to the levels of precipitation.

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