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Call for Papers

International Seminar on
“Historical Water Sustainability: Lessons to learn”
ICID 63rd International Executive Council Meeting and
7th Asian Regional Conference

24 June 2012, Adelaide, Australia: 11.00-17.30 hours

 The development of civilizations in arid and semi-arid areas in the last 7,000 years is closely connected with water management problems. These problems and their solutions have shaped the historical social fabric and its structures. In the course of centuries, systems and methods evolved under these conditions have conclusively demonstrated their sustainability. Today, the knowledge and structural remains of these methods are not only interesting archaeologically and historically, but can also help solve current problems.

Water managers today have to cope with three crucial challenges:

  1. Growing needs;
  2. Climate change;
  3. Developing sustainable schemes.

In view of tremendous Data, Information, Knowledge and Intelligence available from the past, the water wisdom achieved during past hundreds of years, can be regarded as a unique and irreplaceable gift from our ancestors to our generation. In this context, it is proposed that a conference should be held on Historical Water Sustainability to accumulate the lessons learned by presentation of various historical and sustainable water schemes from diverse regions and countries.

Even when it was not possible to use traditional methods at one special place, the knowledge can also help at other places where climate is changing. A good knowledge about traditional water management can play an important role in water awareness campaigns, because it helps the people (and pupils) to get a better understanding as to how the generations before us dealt with water scarcity. And this can be closely connected with the region by existing old structures, so it becomes very real for all participants. At least a good understanding of the traditional water management of a region will help the engineers to develop better and more sustainable solutions than only running computer models. Computer models are an excellent tool to prove and optimize solutions but computers don’t know anything about water wisdom.


  1. Case studies of sustainable historical water schemes.
  2. Water Wisdom of the past.
  3. Using the traditional methods for creative and modern innovations in water engineering
  4. Re-learning the lost knowledge.
  5. Synergy and combination of modern and traditional methods.
  6. Export of ideas and methods to new areas where the climate has changed
  7. Using of traditional water management as a part of public awareness campaigns
  8. The study of traditional water management methods of a region will help to get a better understanding of problems and solutions of this region and will help that the engineers find better and more sustainable options for the future.
  9. Comparison of traditional methods with modern technology in rural areas in the context of:
    1. Means and locally available materials for implementation,
    2. Skills required for construction
    3. Skills required for operation and maintenance
    4. Infrastructure and energy required (e.g. electricity).
    5. Cultural effects and tourist attraction.
    6. Environmental effects,
    7. The use of rainwater in sparsely populated regions

 Deadline for submission:

Acceptance of abstracts (600 words) in word file: 5 May 2012
Acceptance of full papers in word file: 5 June 2012

Contact co-ordinates:

Seminar Chair:  Dr. Kamran Emami (Iran), Chairman, WG-HIST, E-mail: emami@kuritkara.com, kkemami@gmail.com or Dr. Ing. Klaus Rottcher (Germany) Klaus@roettcher.de.

Seminar Coordinator: Dr. Vijay K. Labhsetwar, Director, ICID, E-mail: icid@icid.org  



International Seminar on “Historical Water Sustainability: Lessons to learn”


ICID 63rd International Executive Council Meeting and 7th Asian Regional Conference
24 June 2012, Adelaide, Australia: 11.00-17.30 hours


‘Expression of Interest’


Title of paper                   :

Name (Mr/Ms/Dr/Prof)      :

Occupation                      :

Organization                    :

Full Postal Address         :

Tel :                                                        Fax :

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Registration Fee

 There is no separate registration fee for this Seminar.  However, participants have to register for the main event i.e. 63rd IEC Meeting and 7th Asian Regional Conference during 24-29 June 2012, Adelaide, Australia. Please access the conference website at:  http://online.saneevent.com.au/ial2012/ for registration and other events during Adelaide meetings.


Seminar on History of Irrigation on Eastern Asia, October 2010, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The WG-HIST held its 12th meeting on 6 December 2009 at New Delhi in which 43 persons were present including WG members and observers. Dr. Kamran Emami (Iran) was nominated as the new Chairman of WG-HIST. The WG members profusely thanked Prof. Dr. N. Hatcho (Japan) for Chairing the WG since 2002 and for his active contribution, including organizing of history seminars. Prof. Hatcho was instrumental in bagging the first Best Performing Workbody Award (BPWA) for WG-HIST in 2005.

At the New Delhi meeting, Prof. Segura presented a print copy of a bilingual updated draft version on 'Reflections on the History of Irrigation and Drainage in Spain'.

The WG-HIST will organize a History Seminar on 'History of Irrigation in Eastern Asia', focusing especially on the use of modern water technology during the 61st IEC meetings in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.



Seminar on `Management of Historical/Traditional Irrigation Projects', September 2005, 19th ICID Congress, Beijing (China)

The 3rd World Water Forum
[Water and Cities]
History of Water : Lessons to Learn

Seminar on 'History of Water - Lessons to Learn from History' held on 17-18 March 2003 at Kyoto (Japan)

Seminar on 'History of Irrigation - Lessons from Failures in Irrigation, Drainage and Flood Protection Projects' held in July 2002 during 18th Congress, Montreal (Canada)

International History Seminar on 'Lessons to Learn from Historical Development and Management of Water in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions', Tehran, Iran, 2-3 May 2007.

International Workshop on History of Irrigation, Drainage and flood Control, Pavia, Italy, 2 September 2007.

Seminar on 'History of Water Management in Large River Basins and Droughts', Lahore, Pakistan, October 2008.


The Best Performing Workbody Award (BPWA) was instituted in 2003 to recognize the performance of workbodies between the two Congresses. The first such award has been given to WG-HIST.

WG-HIST Members receiving the Award

The Group has published more than 30 volumes of Water History related documents and books, including Historical Dams (ICID 2001), The Danube Valley (ICID 2004), The Indus Basin (ICID 2004), "A History of Water Issues" (UNU 2005), and History of Irrigation and Drainage of various member countries.