Chichen Itza
Gebel Berkal

World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers

Irrigation and drainage

Sites related to man-made constructions for water supply (for agriculture or drinking water) or removal of water.

The connection belongs to Human Activity connections.

Connected Sites

  • Aflaj irrigation system
  • Ahwar of Southern Iraq: draining the marshes and the building of dams and irrigation canals were major technological breakthrough first introduced under the Ubaid period and further perfected by the Sumerians who later built dams on the Tigris and Euphrates to expand agriculture far inland. (nom file))
  • Al Ain: Use of aflaj
  • Al-Hijr: It bears witness to the development of Nabataean agricultural techniques using a large number of artificial wells in rocky ground. The wells are still in use. (unesco website)
  • Angkor: Holds rrigation and drainage facilities such as reservoirs and canals to prevent floods and store irrigation water
  • Anuradhapura: Has large "tanks" and associated irrigation canals etc. These were built to enable the city to run and feed itself as it lies within Sri Lanka's "dry zone"
  • Aqueduct of Padre Tembleque
  • Aranjuez: Several waterworks, dams, canals to irrigate the gardens and prevent them from flashfloods
  • Australian Convict Sites: Great North Road - significant drains and culverts were constructed as part of the road construction.  Link
  • Bahla Fort: Falaj in the Bahla Oasis
  • Bali Subak system
  • Bam Cultural Landscape: the qanats
  • Battir: network of irrigation channels (AB ev)
  • Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe: the nominated property includes the drainage catchment of the Essigberg west of the Hercules Monument which supplies the water features (AB ev)
  • Calakmul
  • Causses and Cévennes: use of irrigated terraces for agriculture
  • Champaner-Pavagadh: canal system
  • Chan Chan: The Chimú used irrigation for their agriculture by diverting water from the Moche river. Water reservoirs can still be seen at the site
  • Diyarbakir Fortress and Hevsel Gardens: "The Anzele Spring is located in the west part of the City Walls. It provides for the water needs of many mosques in the city, houses and gardens to the Urfa Gate, powers the mills outside of Mardin Gate, and irrigates the Hevsel Gardens".
  • El Fuerte de Samaipata: ICOMOS: "There is an impressive series of at least nine cultivation terraces on the east and south of the rock. They are interconnected by means of stone steps and have a sophisticated system for drainage."
  • Everglades: Several attempts were made to drain and develop the Everglades in the 1880s. Link
  • Fort and Shalamar Gardens: Shalamar Gardens
  • Fortifications of Vauban: Longwy: 5 wells for drinking water to see the inhabitants through a siege
  • Grand Canal: the series illustrates the history of hydraulic techniques (dykes, lock gates, water supply, weirs, drainage and irrigation, etc.), (AB ev)
  • Grand Pré: drainage system included an ingenious device called an 'aboiteau' (AB ev)
  • Hahoe and Yangdong: "The nominated area includes fields bordering the river between the village and the lower slopes of the mountain. They are primarily irrigated rice paddies." - AB Document
  • Hani Rice Terraces: A complex system of channels has been developed to spread this water around the terraces in and between different valleys.(whc)
  • Humayun's Tomb: pools joined by channels
  • Hwaseong Fortress: "The single surviving floodgate (there were originally two), known as Puksumun, is a well built sluice gate on the upstream side of the Fortress, used to control the flow of the stream running througb the site." - AB document
  • Incense Route of the Negev
  • Istanbul Link
  • Kairouan: Bassins des Aghlabides
  • Keoladeo National Park: Ajan Bund
  • Kujataa: To be able to feed all these animals it was necessary to ensure stable production from the fields. To maintain this, an extensive irrigation system was constructed, with reservoirs at several levels and canals which spread out across the entire plain. (Unesco)
  • Kuk
  • Laurisilva of Madeira: The levadas provide essential drinking water and irrigation supplies (Unesco website)
  • Los Alerces National Park: the artificial lake Amutui Quimei
  • M'Zab Valley: The palm groves are partly irrigated by an underground water distribution system called "Foggara". This is similar to the Iranian "Qanat" and the Omani "Aflaj" but only operates for flood waters. Its maintenance and operation is a significant element within the cultural life of the inhabitants. See  Link
  • Machu Picchu Link
  • Masada: special system of tunnels and dams to supply Masada with water
  • Maulbronn Monastery: Maulbronn Abbey for its extensive watermanagement system of reservoirs and channels
  • Maymand: In the exceptionally arid climate, traditionally every drop of water needed to be collected from a variety of sources such as rivers, springs and subterranean pools and collected in reservoirs or channelled through underground qanats to be used for animals, orchards and small vegetable plots. (Unesco)
  • Meknes: Agdal reservoir
  • Mexico City and Xochimilco: Tenochtitlan artificial lake Link
  • Moenjodaro
  • Mount Qingcheng and Dujiangyan
  • Mérida: The Proserpina and Cornalvo dams, both still functioning, are the most remarkable surviving examples of Roman water management systems. (AB)
  • Namhansanseong: "As the entire Namhansanseong Fortress was mostly constructed along with mountain slopes, water permeating into the fortress walls could threaten the stability of the fortress walls. Accordingly, separate water drain holes were installed in places where the drainage system was not good. So far, 28 water drain holes have been verified." - Nomination File
  • Old City of Jerusalem: Hizkia reservoir (drinking water supply)
  • Old Town of Lijiang
  • Orkhon Valley: Ordu-Baliq - remains of a water drainage system
  • Palmeral of Elche
  • Paquimé
  • Persian Garden
  • Petra: "The area is visited by flash floods and archaeological evidence demonstrates the Nabataeans controlled these floods by the use of dams, cisterns and water conduits. These innovations stored water for prolonged periods of drought, and enabled the city to prosper from its sale" (Wiki)
  • Polonnaruva: Has large "tanks" and associated irrigation canals etc. These were built to enable the city to run and feed itself as it lies within Sri Lanka's "dry zone"  Link
  • Pythagoreion and Heraion of Samos: sewage system
  • Pyu Ancient Cities: complex system of irrigation and water storage using elevated weirs canals, dykes, sluice gates, moats and water tanks (AB ev)
  • Qhapaq Ñan: Choquequirao, Huamachuco
  • Rammelsberg and Goslar: Upper Harz Water Management System
  • Rani-ki-Vav
  • Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras: Gravity-fed irrigation system, utilizing water from aquifers in the forests 2,000 feet above.
  • Royal Joseon Tombs: "Ponds built at the Joseon royal burial grounds are mostly square, with round miniature islands, and serve to reinforce favorable energy at the entrance to the burial grounds while also aiding management of drainage of the royal tombs and supporting the caretakers' activities." - nomination file
  • San Antonio Missions: .. share an intricate system of water distribution channels utilizing the fresh water resources from two springs (AB ev)
  • Sarazm: "The irrigation system of Sarazm is probably one of the most sophisticated of the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age in Central Asia." (AB evaluation)
  • Serra de Tramuntana: irrigation channels (AB ev)
  • Shahr-i Sokhta: sewage system
  • Shushtar
  • Sigiriya: Water reservoirs
  • Site of Xanadu: water control works (AB ev)
  • Solovetsky Islands: mesolithic hydraulic systems
  • Southern Öland: Alby
  • Strasbourg: Barrage Vauban (Dam)
  • Sukhothai
  • Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch: There are remains of an elaborate canal irrigation system dating from the Middle Ages or possibly from Roman times, the canals obtaining their water from glacial rivers (UNEP-WCMC)
  • Takht-e Soleyman: residents of the area have created canals to channel the overflow as well as provide irrigation for surrounding fields, which, as a result, are specially fertile
  • Telc: artificial ponds
  • Tequila: Guachimontone
  • The Persian Qanat
  • Tikal National Park
  • Tiwanaku
  • Vat Phou: Hydraulic system stretching over 10 km
  • Versailles Link
  • Xidi and Hongcun: Hongcun: "Around 1405, on the advice of geomancers, a channel was dug to bring fresh water to the village from the West Stream. Two hundred years later the water supply system of the village was completed with the creation of the South Lake." (AB ev)
  • Yazd: qanat system


Do you know of another WHS we could connect to Irrigation and drainage?

Send it to me!

A connection should:

  1. Not be "self evident"
  2. Link at least 3 different sites
  3. Not duplicate or merely subdivide the "Category" assignment already identified on this site.
  4. Add some knowledge or insight (whether significant or trivial!) about WHS for the users of this site
  5. Be explained, with reference to a source