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Contemporary restoration of Timimoun oasis foggaras

In Algeria, just like in North Africa and the Middle Ease the foggara system has been traditionally applied for capturing and channeling water towards the oasis. The foggaras capture and distribute groundwater through a system of gently sloping draining galleries, with air shafts. Foggara is not just an irrigation system, it is part of the socio-cultural heritage, the pride of all the oasis population that has the potential to be classified as world heritage monument of UNESCO. 

These ingenious hydraulic structures that have been functioning for centuries are today in great decline. The survival of the foggara system is in danger.  

Specifically in Algeria a number of social and environmental reasons has led to the reduction of the number of functional foggaras from over 1400 in the past to only 900 combined with a steady decrease in their flow. The situation is further aggregated by the uncontrolled drilling of new wells and boreholes which cause the depletion of the aquifer. 

Particularly in the region of Timimoun the last inventory of 2001 gave a number of 250 foggaras in use. This number is declining as, each year on average one or two foggaras are abandoned.  

In this regard, this case study aims to propose contemporary ways for the rehabilitation and preservation of the foggaras. The case-study which is based on the voluntary construction project that took place on March 2011 in Timimoum, aims to contribute to the maintenance of foggaras, and also to highlight the urgency to preserve this ancient cultural water monument.

In this regard, this case study proposes contemporary ways for the rehabilitation and preservation of the foggaras. The case study is based on the voluntary restoration project that took place on March 2011 in Timimoum oasis. The rehabilitated foggaras make possible to revive oasis agricultural systems that have been abandoned due to lack of water. The ultimate aim of the case study is to highlight the urgent need to preserve these ingenious hydraulic structures of the past.