Traditional Timing of Qanat Water Shares
Khaneiki, Majjid Labbaf
Yazdi, Ali Ashgar Semsar
International Center on Qanats and Historic Hydraulic Structures
Meetings and Proceedings
International Conference on Traditional Knowledge for Water Resources Management
Until recently, it was thought by the authors that only the water clock together with regulation by means of small reservoirs were used for timing water shares for the qanats of Iran. However, this was not the case. This paper presents recent findings about traditional timing of water, mainly in the Central Plateau of Iran, with a focus on star use. Comparisons are made with Oman, where stars and sundials are still used in places for this purpose.Up to the 1950s, water clocks were widely used for timing qanat water shares both by day and by night. However, in a few places, sundials were used by day and stars by night, at least at certain times of year. It appears that stars were widely used to know the time at night, while for water division they were used only on certain qanats, and mainly in winter, when short water shares were not needed. Keeping the time was often the responsibility of only one or two people, and the few surviving people with any knowledge of this practice are now old. This oral history is, therefore, in imminent danger of disappearing completely.
Paper presented at the International Conference on Traditional Knowledge for Water Resources Management, Yazd, Iran, 21–23 February 2012.