With a length of 12 km, the Marlinger Waal (irrigation channel) is the longest in the Meran basin. Running between Töll and Lana, it provides water to some 300 hectares of meadows and fields. Its construction dates back to the mid-18th century and the time of the Carthusian monastery of Allerengelberg in the Schnals Valley.
In 1619 the Carthusians had bought the Gojenhof estate in Marling to supply them with wine. Over 100 years later they began work on a Waal to irrigate the vines, to run from the River Etsch all the way along the slope of the Marling mountain. The Carthusians had experience in the construction of such waterways, having already created channels and gullies to supply water to a number of their monastery farms in the Schnals Valley.
The construction of the Marlinger Waal was much more difficult than expected, however, especially the first few kilometres through the steep rock. When the work began in 1737 it was expected to cost 12,000 guilders. Construction lasted 19 years and ultimately cost 80,000 guilders. Without the help of the municipality of Marling, the monastery could never have finished the Waal.
In 1897 a hydroelectric power plant began operation at Töll. Since then the water has run underground, through the rock, for the first 800 metres. The old Waal can however still be seen. In former times up to three “Waaler” watched over the channel, making sure the water never dried up. The alarm system is still in use today: a hammer attached to a waterwheel strikes a bell every time it turns. Should the bell stop sounding, this means the water has stopped flowing. The Waaler must then quickly identify the cause. He had a hut like this to shelter in at night and during thunderstorms.