Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yemen farming

"It's clear early farmers in Yemen faced unique environmental and social opportunities and challenges. Our findings show farming in southern Yemen required runoff diversion technologies that were adapted to harness monsoon (summer) runoff from the rugged terrain along with new understandings of social landscapes and rights to scarce water resources."

The researchers used computer Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping to determine that ancient forager-herders developed expert knowledge of hydrology and targeted particular small watersheds and landforms for irrigation. Studies of contemporary land and water rights, including principles enshrined in Islamic law, suggest their origins lie at the very beginnings of water management as tribal principles of water equity intertwined with changing ideologies and culture."

You should see the Marib dam, right in the middle of the desert...

1 comment:

Leila said...

I just read an article about the asequias of New Mexico - centuries-old irrigation ditches dug by hand, from the ARabic word for canal:

http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/ditches.html

the magazine was six years old and I was reading it at chemo today. I tore out the article to mail to you but it's online. Beautiful piece about the water sharing practices of the Hispanic families of New Mexico. Permaculture has taken this idea it seems. THe article did not say whether the practice came to the Spanish via the Arabs - only that the word is Arabic.

Reminds me of the Yemenite hydrology you're talking about above.