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An ancient irrigation system consisting of a tunnel dug at a very slight upward gradient into rising ground so that water from deep within the earth runs out to the surface. Qanats were developed in Persia and later adopted throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

[Persian qanāt, from Arabic qanāh, qanāt-, tube, canal, qanat; akin to Hebrew qāne and Akkadian qanû, reed; see qnw in Semitic roots.]


(Civil Engineering) an underground channel for directing irrigation water
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Iran has thrived despite that because of its skills at water engineering, with its millennia-old system of qanats channeling water from higher regions to irrigate plains.
For instance priority was given to the drilling of new wells equipped with motorized pumps, which resulted in the destruction of the cheaper and more effective traditional irrigation systems called the qanats, (19) and new dams were sited inappropriately and constructed poorly.
Similar to foundation of cities, the construction of qanats always starts with some religious ceremony and many ritual preparations (Kheirabadi 2000).
Qanats were constructed across the Islamic world to deliver large quantities of water to the surface without a need for pumping; they were also used to transport water over long distances in hot climates.
From the later first millennium BC, foggaras or qanats proliferated in several parts of Fazzan.
The Qazvin municipality also received the award for dredging and restoring Qanats (canals) in the Northern parts of the city and for Qazvin Ladies' Park.
Qanats are the most splendid team works and the most developed techniques to reach water date back to Iron Age; although, written documents indicates that Achaemenids developed in the light of aqueducts.
Since the earliest days of digging canals to bring irrigation water to farms, and construction of aqueducts and qanats to bring drinking water to cities, water policy has focused overwhelmingly on supplying extending pipelines, constructing dams, building reservoirs, and drilling deeper.
Qanats are underground water channels stretching up to 40 kilometers (26 mi) and first used at least 2000 years ago.
This kind of heavenly garden is inspired by ancient Persia examples, walled gardens called pardeez, from which we get our term paradise, which were watered by efficient underground systems known as qanats.
Desert" to an Iranian is a salt desert, like the Dasht-e Kavir; everything else can be sown with dates, figs, and pistachios and watered with sprinklers or the ancient subterranean canals called qanats.
He even compared the threat from IS and other terrorist groups to the Mongol invasion of a millennium ago that laid waste to Iran, sowing widespread destruction, including intentional filling in of qanats that were the foundation of Iran's agricultural system at the time.