Saturday, November 26, 2016

Image of the Day (11/22)

This image shows the paths of several qanats as they flow into the city of El Jorf, Morocco. Qanats are a system of wells and sloping underground shafts which serve to transport water underground in hot and arid climates without active pumping. In the provided image, what appears to be a continuous line is actually a series of connected wells. This imagery is important because it shows the extent of this ancient infrastructure, but it also tells a story of technological advance and potential water insecurity: when diesel water pumps were introduced to the region making widespread mechanical pumping possible the water table fell so fast that many of these qanats ran dry.  As a direct response to the lowering of the water table the number of date palms being grown in the area in the area has declined by fifty percent. In Morocco date palms serve as a natural barrier against desertification (the dark areas in the image around the city are mostly date palms). This image puts into perspective the fragility of water security and human settlement on the edge of a desert in the face of global climate change.

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