The purpose of this paper is to present an investigation on the relevance of the historical water legislation which would adapt to the modern sustainable water management. It is mainly based on the book by Ernest Feline related to the qanat system in the arid M'Zab valley in southern Algeria. It also refers to some related lectures on the traditional water legislation in the Sahara region and more generally on the Islamic water jurisprudence which does reveal a specific culture perpetuated through a relevant adaptation of al-hisba principles. Subsequently the present paper argues that if updated and adapted, the traditional knowledge can serve current water management issues within the framework of the water sensitive urbanism associated with the integrated water resource management. With this respect the spatial concept called ‘harim al-ma’ and the traditional community actions towards the qanat system can contribute to protecting water quality and improving public health.

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