Kariz (Ancient Aqueduct) system: a review on geoengineering and environmental studies

A. Ebrahimi*, Yousef Mehraban, Hamid Omidvarborna, Ali Vakilinejad, Abdul Razak S. Al-Sayigh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Kariz (Qanat or Roman Aqueduct) is an old knowledge that has been used in more than 35 countries. Kariz, previously recognized as a water management technology, involves horizontal subsurface galleries and vertical monitoring shafts, which works based on natural gravity force. This paper reviews various geoengineering and environmental impacts studies that have been carried out on Kariz networks during recent decades. Geoengineering studies aim to figure out the location, geometrical structure, depth and path of Kariz galleries, which characterize a major hazard particularly in sites located in cities. Among the geoengineering studies, geophysical methods such as electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and electromagnetic (EM) methods are very common methods in exploring underground tunnels and other structural parameters related to Karizes. Defining the location and size of un-mapped Karizes also help to estimate the risk of subsidence and to develop plans for restoration and safety. Further, remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) techniques, which have been recently applied in a number of fields, are discussed. These new techniques help to map the positioning of networks in regions. Other emerging impacts of Kariz systems as an environmentally-friendly technology, its impacts on tourism attraction, land subsidence, and water management have been explored here. Due to modern lifestyle and demand for clean water as a result of population growth, especially in semi-arid or arid climates, this review study aims to explore the important role of Kariz system as a sustainable way of underground water management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number236
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • GIS
  • Geophysical methods
  • Hydrogeochemistry
  • Kariz
  • Qanat
  • Remote sensing
  • Roman aqueduct

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Pollution
  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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