The Moorish invention that tamed Spain’s mountains

Fascinating read from BBC: Future Planet on the acequias in Spain’s Sierra Nevada region. This particular system, which is over 1000 years old, has survived because of generational knowledge passed to acequieros who tend to the underground aquifer recharge system. Its survival has come under significant threat recently due to climate change.

The channel is part of a 3,000km (1,800 mile) irrigation network built by the Moors across the Sierra Nevada between the 8th and 10th centuries. The Islamic water management techniques introduced from the east transformed the landscape and agriculture in what was then Al-Andalus. Acequias made life possible for agrarian communities, conserving and distributing scant and seasonal water resources throughout the rugged mountains. In the newly fertile conditions, the abundance of crops introduced by the Moors thrived, among them almonds, artichokes, chickpeas, aubergine (eggplant), lemons, pomegranates, spinach, quince, walnuts and watermelon.

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