Balochistan: Karezes Irrigation System Included in UNESCO World Heritage List
Now included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Karezes of Balochistan is one of the oldest gravity irrigation systems in the world. It is expected that this will bring better protection to this unique example of ancient engineering artifact.
Below is an article from Pakistan Today
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has included “Karezes in Balochistan” in the world heritage list of cultural natural and mixed heritage site of Pakistan on the plea of Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR).
Karez irrigation system, ranked number one recommended for cultural sites, mostly in arid and semi-arid areas of the world. The system is peculiar and one of the oldest gravity irrigation.
A Karez is a masterwork of hydraulic engineering and cultural unity. This system was a major means of irrigation in Balochistan until ’80s, said a press release issued on Monday.
However, the Karez irrigated area is continuously shrinking from 200,000 hectare in 1971 to around 27,000 hectare in 2012.
Karez system is vanishing principally due to subsidized electric and diesel pumping of groundwater, due to which the water table is declining at 3 m/year in many parts of Balochistan.
The rehabilitation of these systems were too difficult rather impossible due to continuous land use changes, urbanization and associated infrastructure developments.
It is therefore of prime importance to declare Karezes of Balochistan as World Heritage so to protect centuries old marvelous structures and to preserve their social and cultural values.