In Azerbaijan, as in many parts of the world, water is in desperately short supply. The land in this country in the South Caucasus is some of the driest on earth. The rivers Kur and Araz and reservoirs cannot provide enough water to meet the needs of the entire population. But Azerbaijan has substantial, high quality underground water reserves, which for decades were over-exploited with little concern for their sustainability.

Kahrizes were first developed in ancient Iran some 3,000 years ago to take underground water to the surface through simple gravity flow. For centuries, throughout the region, well-maintained kahrizes provided a constant year-round water supply through a network of interconnected wells and underground tunnels that collect water from the hills.

IOM has been working with local partners to improve the management of this resource, which holds the key to population stabilization.

On-Going Projects
Completed Projects