Renovation of Azerbaijan's Ancient Underground Waterways Receives New Backing
An IOM programme to rehabilitate traditional, low maintenance and
sustainable underground water systems, locally know as kahrizes,
has received new funding from the Korean International Cooperation
The USD 1.2 million programme will renovate a total of 20 major
kahrizes in the drought affected regions of Barda, Goranboy,
Goygol, Samukh, Shemkir, Terter and Tovuz. It will also refurbish
irrigation channels in 20 villages and assess water needs of other
regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan, which suffer from chronic
target="" title="">Azerbaijan's Sustainable Water Solution –
One Kahriz at a Time
As a result, some 3,000 households will directly benefit from
improved access to water for consumption and irrigation. Community
members, including women, will be trained on best water management
The overall objective of the two and a half year project is to
encourage sustainable water management in rural communities to
promote livelihoods through agriculture as an alternative to
migration to urban areas.
In Azerbaijan, as it is in many parts of the world, water is in
short supply. Much of Azerbaijan's land accounts for one of the
driest regions on earth.
Kahrizes were first developed in neighbouring Iran some 3,000
years ago to take underground water to the surface through simple
gravity flow. For centuries, throughout the region,
well-maintained kahrizes provided a constant year-round water
supply through a network of interconnected wells and underground
tunnels that collect water from the hills.
During the Soviet time, many networks collapsed because of
neglect until IOM began in 1999 a comprehensive renovation
programme, which has resulted in the rehabilitation of 94 kahrizes
benefiting more than 15,000 families.
For more information on IOM's Kahriz renovation programme,
please go to