Traditional meadow irrigation has been declared an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO. With this form of irrigation, water from rivers and canals is directed to agricultural areas such as fields and meadows using gravity.
“Traditional irrigation is a living heritage that makes a decisive contribution to preserving the biological diversity of our cultural landscapes,” said the Vice President of the German UNESCO Commission, Christoph Wulf, according to the statement.
The decision was eagerly awaited, especially in Nuremberg and the Forchheim district. The two municipalities had pushed forward the application on the German side together with the Queichwiesen in Rhineland-Palatinate. Traditional irrigation crops in Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland were also involved.
Traditional irrigation involves temporarily digging small ditches or damming water to create artificial overflows. According to UNESCO, this sustainable form of water supply serves to cultivate dry areas. In addition to the agricultural benefits, the technology also has positive effects on biodiversity.
The UNESCO Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage is meeting in Kasane, Botswana, Africa, until December 9th.