An initial research report submitted by IHCNF provided suggestions for the rehabilitation of qanat/karez and its neighborhood which included various aspects such as:

  • de-silting of the qanat/karez gallery as one of the priority task to be implemented,
  • regulatory framework for development of qanat/karez influence area,
  • restoration and stabilization of qanat/karez system,
  • regulating development of qanat/karez precinct and
  • long term conservation and monitoring measures for qanat/karez system.

To further document, investigate and assess Bidar’s qanat/karez system in a scientific manner an interdisciplinary team has been created. Architects, conservation and landscape architects, urban planner, geo-technical engineers, hydrogeologists and community development specialists, are involved in this project.

The approach for the conservation of the Naubad qanat/karez is based on the latest advancements in the conservation of historic urban landscape which takes into account ‘identifying, conserving, managing and valuing historic areas within their broader urban contexts, by considering the inter-relationships of their physical forms, their spatial organization and connection, their natural features and settings, and their social and cultural values’ (UNESCO, 2010).

The conservation and sustainable use of Naubad qanat/karez aspires to revive a historic water supply network for the direct benefit of the local community while harnessing other indirect economic benefits in the form of tourism centered on highlighting this water system as unique historical water system.

Above all this, the education value of this historic system is highly relevant in the present times of water scarcity in this region and potential waters wars in the future at local, regional, national and international level in the future. Therefore, the way forward for the Naubad qanat/karez in Bidar is to cater to the present and future needs of the city in a sustainable manner.

The issues impacting Naubad qanat/karez straddle larger issues of protection, maintenance, adequate sanitation, adherence to environmental emissions norms and effects of urbanization.

  1. Lack of protection and developmental regulations: The qanat/karez landscape including natural and cultural aspects are not adequately protected and regulated from construction, mining, quarrying, excavation and land use change under existing national or state monuments or town planning acts leading to irreversible changes to the natural surroundings of the qanat/karez and undesirable impact on the stability of the qanat/karez structure.
  2. Reduced percolation: The spate of urbanization witnessed in Bidar in the last ten years is one of the recent contributors to increase in impervious surfaces like roads and buildings. This has reduced and limited the areas available for natural percolation in erstwhile time.
  3. Depleting tree cover: The fall out of urbanization is seen in reduced tree cover over Bidar and the Naubad watershed in particular. This has created microclimates with high terrestrial radiation which in turn continues to deplete soil moisture. The lack of soil moisture in turn, affects the transpiration capability of vegetation, leading to subsequent wilting and mortality.
  4.  Contamination from Industrial and Domestic waste: Pollutants from upstream areas of Industrial zones in the North and East are suspected of finding their way into the qanat/karez water.
  5.  Contamination from farming pesticides: The application of synthetic fertilizers is known to leach chemical residue into groundwater. The presence of many fields in the downstream area of the Naubad qanat/karez makes this a point of vulnerability.
  6. Soil loss and Slope failure: Slip failure of cracked laterite surfaces can be seen at the qanat/karez mouth and Mother Well due to flash rains or prolonged rainfall events. Along the hillside, slope failure resulting from lack of vegetation to bind the soil is also evident. In addition, pronounced runoff from upper elevations with buildings adds to the collective soil loss.
  7. Road cutting: The capability of laterite to form seemingly stable slope cuts promotes ad-hoc slope cutting along roadsides. The fine sediment washed by rain and wind gets deposited in all low-lying areas.
  8.  Deep borewells: The pumping of borewells within close proximity to one another and to the qanat/karez adds to the loss of inflow into the qanat/karez.


       Text by FICUS Landscape Architects, Bangalore

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