KAREZES, ABANDONED AND ENDANGERED WATER RESOURCES IN SEMI-ARID REGIONS: CASE STUDY FROM SULAYMANIYAH CITY, IRAQ

Abstract

The growing water shortage resulting from the recent drought season spanning from the last decades in Sulaymaniyah City has led to resurfacing the question of water supply. To cover for the long, hot and dry seasons and to make use of the limited precipitation in the higher elevation areas of the city, tenths of man-made subterranean aqueducts known as Karez or Qanat have been developed throughout the history of the city. This paper provides an insight into the current status of Sulaymaniyah Karezes and their deteriorating conditions regarding structure and water quality due to unsustainable urbanization and improper licensing for land use in the city. Geological aspects with particular emphasis on hydrogeological conditions that made their construction and their long-term use possible have been examined. Terminology, function, and distribution of all infiltration Karezes have been recorded and previously drawn sketches reviewed. Water samples from Karez outlets are analysed for major, minor and trace elements and the results showed that some of them are polluted and not suitable for human consumption. It also advocates that some of them in the Sulaymaniyah City shouldn’t only be protected as a great city heritage but also be refurbished and reconsidered as sustainable and eco-friendly water supply system for at least irrigation and industrial use if not drinking.