In the Tunisian arid regions, the underground water tables are the mean water
resources. Theses resources have been used for the development of the agriculture and
for domestic uses in many oases of southern Tunisia. This was possible by digging a
system of tunnels and wells called locally "Ain", Khrigua", Guennaria", or "Mkoula".
Such tunnels are the equivalent of "Atlaj" in the gulf countries and the Foggara or the
Qantas or the Karez in other countries in the world.
In 2003 the Arid Regions Institute, began a study on the Foggara systems in Tunisia
with the financial support of European Community (Foggara research project). The
mean elements of the methodology followed in this study, are:
- bibliographical research on the Qanat, in Tunisia;
- fields visits of the Qanat sites;
- discussions with the owners and users of the Qanat ;
- inventory and analysis of maps and aerial photos of Qanat sites in southern Tunisia;
- data collection (hydrogeology, geology, geomorphology, land uses, etc ... ) from the
national and local agriculture services.
The preliminary results of this study on The "Qanat" (foggara) systems in Tunisia are:
- map indicating the different sites of The "Qanat" (foggara) systems in Tunisia;
- bibliographical list of document on The "Qanat" (foggara) systems in Tunisia;
- the analysis of the mean causes of the abandon of The "Qanat" (foggara) systems in
- recommendations for the rehabilitation of the "Qanat" (foggara) systems in Tunisia,
with the consideration of the system as cultural heritage which could be used for the
- proposal of new techniques to improve the water mobilization and uses (iITigation)
of the "Qanat" (foggara) systems which are still working, in Tunisia.