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21 July 2005
Ancient Irrigation System Discovered In UAE

     Discovered entirely by accident, an ancient underground water channel system known as a "Falaj" has been unearthed beneath the courtyard of a house in Al Ain, near the Hili Archeological Park. The system may very well have been built 3,000 years ago.
     Al Ain, an Oasis that dominates the route between Abu Dhabi and Oman is the home of the Hili Archeological Park, where students from all over the world gather to study archeology and is the site of the Hili Tombs, hundred's of bee-hive shaped, clay tombs dating back to the late 4th and early 3rd millenium.
     A Falaj system would have been the major source of bringing water to these arid zones from distant lands. It was a highly engineered procedure of tapping underground water by way of man-made, subterranean channels to the villages and farming districts where it would be used for irrigating as well as domestic purposes.
     The people of this ancient time who initiated the planning of the Aflaj
(plural for Falaj in Arabic) were highly skilled in engineering, water exploration and digging and maintenance.
     In 1985, the first Falaj built in the United Arab Emerates was discovered and excavated in Al Ain. The genius of this design bares evidence by the fact that many such Aflaj are still in use in Al Ain as well as other parts of the world today!
     And there have been ongoing discoveries of Aflaj. The ancient water systems have been found in Hili, Bida'a Bin Saod, Al Gabeeb and Al Madam, as well as Al Ain, and one discovered in Thugaiban, all within the UAE.
     Imagine the beauty of a cool, thriving Oasis within the desert with free-flowing water that where once it's inhabitants and travelers had to pay for their water. Paradise lost is now again found.

Source: gulf-news.com(19 July 2005)

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