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Sophia Journal of Asian, African, and Middle Eastern Studies


In this paper I will discuss the fact that there was indeed a rulebook in the Islamic era, a written water law (the Qānūn al-Riyy). It functioned and was enforced in the north-west Nile Delta province of Buḥayra/Ḥawf Ramsīs. This rulebook was aimed at something fairly sophisticated in quantitative terms: it imposed a system of rotating water usage via the controlled opening and closing of village dams. The purpose of this system of rotation was to regulate and maintain the velocity of water in village feeder canals. I'm going to talk about this rulebook, how it worked, how it has performed in quantitative simulations and finally, the power apparatus it called into being - a coercive provincial administration.


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