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Water system

The way the brine is distributed at Añana is really exceptional not only because of its wooden structures, but also because of its springs system and ancient rights to regulate the brine that has been documented for over 1200 years.

The salt water springs - with 210 grams of salt per litre - are located at the head of the valley, which is the southern end. A system of pine wood channels distributes the brine thanks to the gravity throughout the saltworks.

The Añana saltworkers devised a distribution system based on wooden trunks that have been emptied. This network of channels measures over four kilometres long. Through various support systems, the required slope is maintained so that the brine can flow to all the points of the saltworks thanks to the force of gravity.

This led to the creation of a unique and impressive landscape of channels supported on the ground or by wooden pillars measure up to 10 metres high to bridge the gap between both slopes.

The limited amount of salt water that flows from the springs and the great number of owners generated the need to regulate and control its distribution in order to have enough water for all the farms.

All throughout the year, both day and night, all the brine from the mountain springs was assigned to different owners in turn. Following a strict schedule, the salt workers blocked the course of the salt water in the main distribution channels using clay to direct the liquid to their own wells and salt-pans for the time they had been allotted.

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