WaterHistory.org WaterHistory.org
WaterHistory.org Search WaterHistory.org
WaterHistory.org WaterHistory.org WaterHistory.org
WaterHistory.org WaterHistory.org
Location Water Use Historic Era Technology Short Bios Multimedia About Home




To understand the impact that ancient and modern municipal water systems have on the quality of life

  1. The following resources are available at this website:
  2. Suggested additional reading:
    • Smith, Norman, 1978. "Roman Hydraulic Technology,:Scientific American, 238:154-161

Suggested Lesson Development

Attention Activities:

Discuss Frontinus's statement about the aqueducts of Rome: "...with such an array of indispensible structures carrying so many waters, compare if you will, the idle Pyramids or the useless, though famous work of the Greeks."


List the pluses and minuses of ancient Roman water supply systems


  • Large quantities of water
  • Understood the need for unpolluted water sources
  • Structures were well engineered
  • Surplus water helped flushed their urban drains


  • Not a lot of water storage
  • Few abodes had running water; for most, water had to be carried from a nearby (?) fountain
  • Taps/faucets were rarely used

Compare to contemporary municipal water systems

Contemporary water systems have:

  • Enough storage to meet daily fluctuations in demand
  • Water treatment plants
  • Pressure pipes
  • Connections to individual homes, apartments, etc.
  • Water supplied on demand from a tap/faucet

Ancient Roman systems

  • The lack of individual connections tended to encourage Romans to spend more time outside their abodes, in the streets and entertainment centers of Rome.

   Quick Links
 » Travel Info
 » Teaching Aids 
Programming and Design by Moki Systems, a Utah Ruby on Rails consultancy with content provided by USBR Provo Area Office.
Accu-tech Auto Wisp-router.com