IOM's Rehabilitated Ancient Water Supply Systems Help Thousands of Families in Nakhchivan Access Water
Thousands of families in Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic (NAR) in
Azerbaijan have been given access to drinking water and better
irrigation systems following IOM's rehabilitation of traditional
underground water supply systems in partnership with the
governments of NAR and Switzerland.
Three times as much water is now flowing through these water
supply systems – known as kahrizes – in areas where the
lack of water resources would otherwise have forced many families
to leave their land and homes.
The project, called the Community-Owned Sustainable Water Use
and Agricultural Initiatives (COSWA), began in the rural areas of
NAR in November 2007 and will end on 31 May.
In total 100 kahrizes were constructed and renovated with
funding from the Swiss government over a 10-year period. The 100
kahrizes provide irrigation to 3,100 households and access to
drinking water for 2,700 homes.
IOM provided professional training to young kahriz technicians
called kankans, introduced new technologies and designed safety,
security and maintenance guidelines and mechanisms for the
rehabilitation of the kahrizes.
IOM also promoted agricultural development and small businesses
in the region, analysed current legislation relating to kahrizes
and drafted recommendations on how to increase the long term
protection of the water supply systems.
On Tuesday 24 May, the technical documentation for all 100
kahrizes will be officially handed over to authorities and the
first two kahrizes constructed this century transferred to the
government at an event at Nakhchivan State University to mark the
successful completion of the project.
In addition, the top 15 kankans will be honoured for their
outstanding commitment and performance during the kahriz renovation
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