Karez Irrigation System

Karez Irrigation System was created by ancient Uygur people at the second half of 18th century. It can mainly be found in the area of Turpan, Hami and Helei. If connecting all these underground channels together, the total length will reach more than 5000 km, so it is regarded as one of ancient China's greatest public projects.

The word 'Karen' means wells. The wells are sunk at various points to the north of Turpan to collect ground water, which comes from snow-melt water in the Bogda Mountains. The water then passes through underground channels to irrigate farms in the valley below.

The city of Turpan owes its existence to these vital wells and underground canals. Part of the channel system is on the ground surface, but putting them underground greatly reduces water loss from evaporation. Karez systems consist of several different parts: vertical wells, underground canals, above-ground canals and small reservoirs.

Karez systems can also act as the natural air conditioner for the local people in the scorching summer mid-days.

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