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Project Inventory, analysis and valorization of traditional water techniques of European and Saharan drainage tunnels

- Foggaras are traditional systems of water catchment and distribution typical of arid and semiarid areas. They are made up of horizontal underground shafts, which drain water and convey it by gravity to areas where it is needed. The drain age tunnels catch only the quantity of water that can autonomously reproduce and represent a harmonious system of maintaining watertables, which are thus fed through the catchment of humidity and hidden precipitation.

- As a matter of fact they are considered as real structures of water production. They have been widespread since the 1st millennium B.C. With different names: qanat, khettara, falaj, madjrat or minas. Foggaras are also traditional technologies belonging to the cultural heritage of peoples who safeguard this ancient and clever know-how in any situations. Closely related to the building of mausolea and settlements, they characterize landscapes, which their constructions made fertile.

Project number ICA3-CT-2002-10029
Subject(s) WATER DEMAND , HEALTH - HYGIENE - PATHOGENIC MICROORGANISM , no translation available
Geographical coverage Italy, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Spain
Budget (in €) 1050000
Programme INCO MED (FP5)
Web site
Objectives - The general aim is the better understanding of the characteristics and the functioning of foggaras within European and Maghrebian countries in order to valorize them both as World Heritage, as the whole of knowledge and as an efficient way of water production guaranteeing the proper management of water resources and the ecosystem upkeep.

- In particular, in two European countries, in Morocco, in Algeria and in Tunisia research will rely on theoretical basis and on on-site experimental surveys: inventory of existing drainage tunnels; analysis of their functioning and methods of realization; causes of persistence or abandonment; study on restoration and maintenance methods; potentialities for re-using and reintroducing foggaras.
Period [01/05/2003 - 31/07/2006]


  • ItaliIpogea - Research Centre on Traditional and Local Knowledge
    - Ipogea carries out activities concerning the safeguard, the enhancement, the research and the training in historic centres, archaeological and environment restoration as well as ecosystem protection.

    - Ipogea is recognised by the European Union as the body par excellence for the safeguard and the enhancement of European Cultural Heritage.
    Coordinator acts as project coordinator
    Country Italy
    Web site
    Contact Mr. Pietro Laureano,
    Position: Prof.
    Phone/fax: +39 0835 331851, +39 0835 331603
  • Université Moulay Ismaïl
    Country Morocco
    Web site
    Contact Mr. ,
    Phone/fax: 055 467 306, 055 467 305
  • Ecole Polytechnique d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme e Sarl Société Sud Timmi
    Country Algeria
    Contact Mr. CHEMROUK Mohamed,
    Position: Dr.
    Phone/fax: 00.213/52.47.27 ou 52.58.88 , 00.213/52.58.89
  • Institut des Regions Arides
    - Breeding and wild fauna in arid and desert regions
    Country Tunisia
    Web site
    Contact Mr. M. le Directeur de l'IRA ,
    Phone/fax: +216 75 633 005,