Iran: Helping water flow back into Bam

News and Press Release
Originally published
Over 360 farming families will benefit from the new irrigation canals built by World Vision in Bam, Iran. This project, costing US$16,500, was implemented through sheer hard work, good inter-organisational cooperation and a desperate need to succeed.
The majority of villagers in Deh Shotor, located some 5 km from Bam, are farmers and rely heavily upon the harvest of date palms and other produce to survive. When the December earthquake destroyed the water ghanats (irrigation canals) that carry water to the date palm plantations, their livelihoods were threatened and most believed the coming harvest was destined for ruin.

"We thought we were going to have to look for something else to live on until next year's harvest," said Ramezan Ranjbar (66). "Now, thanks to you, we can see water flowing again to our crops, and we don't need to worry about surviving anymore."

A needs assessment and consultation with the Department of Agriculture, local authorities and village representatives revealed the urgent need to reconstruct the ghanats.

World Vision committed to assist in cleaning and rebuilding four of the 60 ghanats around Bam, which without them would be reduced to a lifeless desert.

The reconstruction of the Deh Shotor ghanat took a great deal of effort. Villagers spent two months cleaning and rebuilding a 600-metre box tunnel to enable water to run three metres underground. This stops the water from evaporating with high temperatures and ensures that this precious resource reaches the plantation plains from Iran's mountains.

"This is something our children and our grandchildren will remember," said Mr. Ehsani, head of the Department of Agriculture in Bam, in expressing his gratitude to World Vision.

"We couldn't have done it ourselves, or it would have taken more time. In any case, the plantations would have been ruined," said Ehsani.

The new ghanat will irrigate 150 hectares of plantation and the water will also reach city dwellers. Three more ghanats will be cleaned, rebuilt and reopened within the next month.