The management of water resources between traditions and sustainability: the Qanats of Shahrood Province (North-Eastern Iran)

Andrea Del Bon (a), Ezio Burri (b), Pietro Ragni (c), Angelo Ferrari (c), Faramarz Doulati Ardejani (d) & Ali Younesian (d)
(a) Department of Earth Sciences - University of Rome La Sapienza, Piazzale Aldo Moro 5, 00185 Roma. (b) Department of Life, Health & Environmental Sciences - University of L'Aquila, Piazzale Salvatore Tommasi 1, Blocco 11, cap 67010 L'Aquila - Coppito. (c) Methodological Chemistry Institute - Italian National Research Council (IMC-CNR), Via Salaria km 29,300, cap 00015 Monterotondo (RM). (d) School of Mining, Petroleum and Geophysics, University of Technology of Shahrood, P.O. Box 3619995161 Shahrood, Iran. Corresponding author e-mail:

DOI:         Pages: 31-35


This short note presents the preliminary characterization of some qanats located in the Shahrood Province, as a result of a join agreement between the University of L'Aquila, the Institute of Chemical Methodologies of the National Research Council and the University of Technology of Shahrood. These underground water supply systems by gravity, whose conception dates back three thousand years, are still of great importance to exploit groundwater resource, that is strategic in peri-desert and desert areas. Qanats are endangered by the increasing use of drilled wells, which have exacerbated aquifers' overexploitation. To overcome this issue, these ancient underground water works can effectively offer "sustainable withdrawals" (tapping only the upper part of aquifer), if strategically implemented and following rational groundwater uses, taking into account cultural heritage, tourism enhancements and other uses related to new technologies (greenhouses heated by low-enthalpy plants, qualitative and quantitative improvement of traditional, typical and new varieties of crops, such as: peaches, apricots, pistachios).


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