AN ancient islamic waterway in the Sierra Nevada built by Muslim peasant farmers more than a thousand years ago is being restored.
The project is led by a team from the University of Granada with hefty EU funding and comes amid increasing water supply issues in Spain.
The irrigation system located high in the Sierra Nevada mountains begins 1,800 metres above sea level and for centuries provided water to the small village of Cañar.
But it fell into disuse in the 1980s following continuous depopulation.
Jose Maria Martin Civantos, an archaeology professor at the university and leader of the project said: “The Islamic agricultural revolution was the first green revolution. They brought together techniques and knowledge about water, soil, plants and also how snow behaves. They transformed the way water is used in the Mediterranean.”
The ancient system works by utilising a trickle-down effect by controlling the flow of the water, allowing it to be absorbed into the land.
MemoLab – the organisation from the university that is working on the project – has restored some of the system and it now irrigates the university’s gardens.
The project was made more challenging by the fact that the method used by the Islamic conquerors was never written down.
“Due to the Catholic reconquest of Islamic Spain and the expulsion of the Muslim population early in the 17th century, much of this knowledge was lost,” the university said.
It is not known when the waterway will be fully operational to provide for the public water supply.
- Exotic African wild cat coaxed to safety from treetop on Costa Blanca farm in Spain
- War on wild boars declared in Spain’s Murcia in special ‘hunting emergency’
- ‘Orgy of blood and death’: Outrage over mass slaughter of trapped animals during hunt in southern Spain