Water and life in Arabia to come under Al Ain conference spotlight

ABU DHABI: Historic environment experts from eight countries across the Middle East, Canada and Europe are due in Al Ain later this week for a three-day conference which will probe the role of water in the life of Arabia.

To be held at the Qattara Art Centre from December 14th-16th, the regional conference, which is open free-of-charge to the public and organised by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), will trace the beginnings of oasis life in north west Arabia and early water management techniques.

“Attendees will be able to trace the water engineering and management practices throughout Arabia from ancient to pre-modern times,” said Mohamed Al Neyadi, Director of the Historic Environment, TCA Abu Dhabi. “At the same time they will learn of the water sustainability opportunities inherent across the Arabian Peninsula, the challenges of water management in fast growing cities and water saving irrigation strategies for improving food security across the Peninsula.” Delegates will hear of the water management lessons passed down by the Bedouin of Jordan’s Southeastern desert and the water irrigation systems is some historical cities in Saudi Arabia.

A special session will be dedicated to the ancient and unique Al Falaj irrigation system which characterised the oases of Oman and Al Ain.

“Water uses in a historical context will be widely explored,” said Al Neyadi, “From the use of resources in Bahrain’s Dilmum period to the old water wells implemented in north west Kuwait and the cultural memory of historic water resources in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra region.” Post conference activities include dinner at the Al Ain Palace Museum and visits to the Hili Iron Age falaj, Hili Archaeological park and oasis in Al Ain.

“This is a conference which probes history and will help take its lessons to impact and address the challenges of the future,” added Al Neyadi.