Traditional water management in arid and semi arid areas:
Case studies of the Gheris oasis and the Figuig oasis, Morocco

 1000 bc

7th century BC — The first inscription mentioning the qanat dates back to the 7th century BC when during a battle in Persia the Assyrian king Sargon II described the unearthing of underground water canals.

500 bc

5th century BC — The foggara system is mentioned by Herodotus, Greek historian.

2nd century BC — Polybius, the Greek historian refers to so many underground wells and canals dug in the desert of Asia Minor that “nowadays he whom exploits those waters does not know whence they spring, nor where they are conveyed”(Tales X, 28).

1st century BC — Vitruvius, a Roman architect and essay writer describes among “the techniques to find water” the one based on the airing of wells connected to each other by underground pipes (De architectura VIIIm, 1, 6).

500 ad


7th century AD-onward — During the Muslim period several essays on the maintenance and the construction of drainage systems are written.

1000 ad
11th century AD — The mathematician Hasan al-Hasib al Karagi wrote “the art of making hidden waters spring”.

12th - 17th century AD — Wide use of the khettara /foggara irrigation system in many sites in Morocco. It is possible that khettara first came to Morocco from the Middle East following the Islamic revolution.
1500 ad  
2000 ad
Today — Some of the foggara systems are still in use today in many countries