DR Ambedkar IAS Academy

The Karez System

The Karez System

  • Karez’ system (also known as Qanat) which is a water harnessing technology that originated in Iran/Persia.
  • The karez technology basically taps into the ground water sources (or natural springs) and transports it through an underground tunnel to the settlement, ending in surface canal and/or pools in the village for various uses like drinking, washing, ablution, watering livestock, and also further used for irrigating fields, orchards and gardens.

History of Kariz

  • The Karez is found in 38 countries worldwide and of course most of these are concentrated in the Middle East region. Persia is known for the earliest known and documented Karez system.
  • The Muslim dynasties with ruling class descending from Persia or having influential connections with Persian kings may have invited expert engineers from Persia.
  • The silk route may have been the information highway to transfer the cultural and traditional knowledge.

Introduction of Kariz in India

  • Karez system was built by Bahmani kings in 15th Century by the Bahmani kings in Bidar, Gulbarg and Bijapur in Karnataka and also in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Kariz is nothing but the Underground canals, built to underground water streams which are meant to provide drinking water to civilian settlements.
  • It is believed that the Muslim rulers of Bidar, under the expert advice of Persian engineers followed Karez system by laying subterranean canals in the heart of the rock by widening the natural rift.

Way forward

  • The centuries old Kariz system should be rehabilitated and promoted as traditional means of irrigation and drinking water supply.
  • The educational value of this historic system is highly relevant in the present days of water disputes that are prevailing at local, regional, national and international level.

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