Water in the Desert: the well at Al Zubara Fort
The well once provided fresh drinking water all year round, but today, like other wells in the area it is completely dry. Dug by hand through the hard dammam limestone the well reached down to a thin band of fresh water. If it were dug too deep the water would become salty. Rubble in the bottom means we do not know exactly how deep this well is, but it goes down at least ten metres.
In the past a bucket would have been lowered on a long rope to collect water. In the last 50 years the amount of fresh water in the area has dropped significantly. Some wells nearby do still have water in them, but the water is salty and not safe to drink.
Down by the coast where Al Zubarah town lies the ground water has always been too salty, which is why there was a sister settlement that had many large wells. This fortified village, Qal'at Murair was not far from this modern fort.
You can learn more about the geology and hydrology of the region in the environment room on the other side of the courtyard.