The Karez System of Afghanistan is in threat whereas a similar system named Surangam in South India is thriving.
- Surangams resemble the karez System both in structure and spread.
- The surangam or suranga is usually found in northern Kerala and southern Karnataka.
- Surangam is basically a tunnel dug through a laterite hillock from the periphery of which water and moisture seeps out.
- Surangams are similar to Qanats which once existed in Mesopotamia and Babylon around 700 Before Common Era (BCE). By 714 BCE, this technology had spread to Egypt, Persia and India.
- Qanats are underground tunnel systems that bring infiltrated groundwater, surface water, or spring water to the earth’s surface using only gravitational force.
- This system has been very effectively used for domestic and agriculture purposes in dry areas of northern Malabar.
- Some people believe the surangam is indigenous and a likely origin of the suranga system refers to 18 Karhada Brahmin families that had been moved to the Kasargod area from modern-day Maharashtra in the 17th century under duress.
- The karez system is a legacy of its Persian cultural moorings.
- It has suffered extensive damage in 43 years of war and stares at an uncertain future under the Taliban’s second regime.
- Karez is a water harnessing technology in which groundwater is brought to the surface by a tunnel.
- In this system, no mechanical pump or lift is used.
- Gravity alone brings the water from the underground source.
- The technology originated in Persia/Iran and was widely used during the medieval period.