Dolce&Gabbana x ADMAF Design Award 2023 Announced

The Aflaj in Al Ain provided fresh water since ancient times. They played a vital role in supplying water to the residents of Al Ain Oasis throughout the year in the past.

“Aflaj” is the plural of “Falaj”, which means “split into parts” in classical Arabic. This irrigation system effectively divided the water among all the inhabitants; it flowed by gravity from their original sources to homes and cropland.

The Aflaj in the city of Al Ain were a major source of fresh water, and played an important role in providing water throughout the year for the residents of Al Ain Oasis in the past.

Ancient Falaj in Al Ain
A 3,000 year old iron age falaj irrigation system at Hilli in Al Ain. Stephen Lock / The National

The city of Al Ain is famous for its many falajs, and it is the only city in the UAE that includes this number of falajs, as there are nine main falajs, and many sub-falajs and tributaries. one of the most popular oases in the UAE. The Iron Age Aflaj is in Al Ain’s Hili, Jebeeb, Bida bin Saoud, Thugaiban and Al Madam areas.

Various Aflaj Systems in Al Ain Oasis

Aflag system or Falaj

Life relied on aflaj in the past, and man settled wherever there were aflaj that overflow with water and irrigate the oases that contain trees of various kinds, and to this day they have remained a heritage symbol linking the present with the past.

Sheikh Zayed’s contribution in the Aflaj

The interest of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, may God rest his soul, in it was to lead the saga of afforestation, the spread of agricultural land, and the expansion of green spaces. In 1946, Sheikh Zayed, as the governor of Al Ain, restored and renovated all the water resources including the falaj system. The restoration of these systems contributed to Al Ain’s agricultural boom.

Working of Aflaj

Aflaj extracts water from underground sources like wadis and wells. It is dug deep in the earth. Machines do not intervene in the water flow. Gravity propels the water through the system. The Oasis has water systems that provide a constant water supply. to know more details about how Aflaj system work visit this page.