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Contemporary restoration of Timimoun oasis foggaras

Timimoun is an Algerian town in the central area of hyper-arid Sahara, a region known by low rainfall not exceeding 100 mm/year. Located 1300 km south of Algiers, Timimoun, is the largest town in a region which includes approximately one hundred oases and is also known as the "Pearl of Gourara". It is known by its beautiful palm trees, dates of good quality, and more than 200 small villages (qsar).   

The city of Timimoun stretches along a cliff, and the palm grove spreads across its side. To the west lies a Sebkha -an old dry lake bed- followed by the massive sand dunes of the Grand Erg Occidental.  

Foggaras have prevailed for centuries in Algeria as an irrigation method due to socioeconomic, territorial and climate considerations of the country. Foggaras were constructed mainly in the regions of Tuat, Gourara and Tidikelt. Particularly in the region of Timimoun, its hydrogeology has contributed towards the proliferation of these ingenious hydraulic works.

However, nowadays, the flow of the aprox. 250 foggaras still functional in the Timimoun region shows a significant drop: From 850 l/s in 1960 to 355 l/s in 2001 as calculated by the last census conducted by the National Agency of Water Resources. Their number is also decreasing with one to two foggaras ceasing to function every year.