UAE unveils Watering 8 Farmlands After Irrigation System Revival

Omar Abbas - | Business

Local agriculture has been revitalized by the nonprofit group Emirates Nature-WWF and Etihad Rail's sponsorship of the restoration of a run-down Falaj irrigation system near Bithnah.

According to Altaf Habib, Projects Manager at Emirates Nature-WWF, the Falaj was in ruins when they first arrived. But after listening to the community's cries during the majlis, we decided to take on the restoration task. Today, eight farms in the area are effectively irrigated by it."

Harnessing Nature's Forces

The Falaj operates on a gravity-fed mechanism, eliminating the need for external energy sources. Altaf explains, "Water flows naturally, driven solely by gravity. This renders the system sustainable, devoid of any dependence on machinery or power sources." During scorching summers, water is manually pumped from a nearby well and channeled through the Falaj pipes, ensuring continuous irrigation.

Situated along an ancient trade route dating back 3,000 years, Bithnah holds historical significance as a hub for trade between Asia, Europe, and Africa. Emirates Nature-WWF's efforts extend beyond agricultural revitalization, aiming to empower local communities. Altaf emphasizes, "We prioritize community engagement, consulting locals to address their specific needs. This participatory approach ensures sustainable development tailored to the area's requirements."

In addition to restoring Falaj, the organization trains farmers in productive farming methods. Water use has been optimized by the introduction of contemporary methods, such as precision irrigation. "Historically, flood irrigation resulted in significant water waste," adds Altaf. Water use has dropped by up to 20% thanks to precision systems made specifically for each tree, encouraging environmentally friendly farming methods."

Emirates Nature-WWF worked with local authorities to create hiking routes around Bithnah's picturesque landscapes, which included the old Bithnah fort, after realizing the potential for eco-tourism. These programs protect the region's ancient treasures in addition to drawing tourists. Furthermore, growing Moringa plants offers the community a new source of revenue. According to Altaf, "Moringa oil production, derived from these trees, offers a lucrative opportunity for sustainable income generation."

Community-Led Conservation Efforts

Community resilience is demonstrated by volunteerism in the face of calamities like the most recent flooding. The rehabilitation of the Falaj after the flood is being handled by Emirates Nature-WWF and neighborhood volunteers like 12-year-old Charlie. After the event, Charlie said, "It was difficult but worthwhile to clean up the Falaj of dirt and rubble. The effort is justified as local farmers gain from it."

The restoration of Bithnah's Falaj irrigation system symbolizes more than just agricultural revival; it embodies community resilience, heritage preservation, and sustainable development. Through collaborative efforts, Emirates Nature-WWF continues to nurture both the land and its people, fostering a brighter, more sustainable future for Bithnah and its inhabitants. The project's success serves as a testament to the power of grassroots initiatives and collective action to drive positive change. As Bithnah's agricultural landscape flourishes once more, it stands as a beacon of hope for similar endeavors worldwide, showcasing the transformative potential of preserving ancient practices while embracing modern innovation.

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Omar Abbas
Omar Abbas
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