is a water supply or navigable
(conduit) constructed to convey water.
In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes,
ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this
purpose.In a more restricted use, aqueduct
(occasionally water bridge
) applies to any
transports water—instead of a path, road or railway—across a gap.
Large navigable aqueducts
used as transport links for boats
. Aqueducts must span a crossing at the same level
as the watercourses on each side. The word is derived from the
("water") and ("to
Although particularly associated with the Romans
, aqueducts were devised much earlier in
the Near East
and Indian subcontinent
, where peoples such
as the Egyptians
irrigation systems. Roman-style aqueducts were used as early as
the 7th century BC, when the Assyrians built an 80 km long limestone
aqueduct, 10 m high and 300 m wide, to carry water across a valley
to their capital city, Nineveh.
In the new world, when the Aztec
was discovered in the
middle of the second millennium
it was watered by two aqueducts. Water ran down to the city from
the mountains through one while the other was cleaned and
The Indian subcontinent had some of the earliest aqueducts.
can be found at the sites of present day Hampi.
massive aqueducts near river Tungabhadra supplying irrigation water
were once long. The water ways supplied water to royal bath
Persia from early times a system of underground aqueducts
called Qanat were constructed, a series of
well-like vertical shafts, connected by gently sloping
- taps into subterranean water in a manner that delivers water to
the surface without need for pumping. The water drains relying on
gravity, with the destination lower than the source, which is
typically an upland aquifer.
- allows water to be transported long distances in hot dry
climates without losing a large proportion of the source water to
seepage and evaporation.
Roman aqueducts were built in all parts of the Roman Empire
, from Germany to Africa, and
especially in the city of Rome, where they totalled over
415 km. The aqueducts supplied water to large cities across
the empire, and set a standard of engineering that was not
surpassed for more than a thousand years.
Peruvian town of Nazca, an ancient pre-Columbian system of
aqueducts called Puquios were built and are
still in use today.
They are made of intricately placed
stones, a construction material widely used by the Nazca culture.
The time period in which they were constructed is still debated,
but some evidence supports circa A.D. 540-552, in response to
drought periods in the region.
Extensive usage of elaborate aqueducts have been found to have been
used in Ancient Sri Lanka.
times, the largest aqueducts of all have been built in the United States to supply the country's biggest cities.
water to New York
City over a distance of 120 miles (190 km), but is
dwarfed by aqueducts in the far
west of the country, most notably the Colorado River Aqueduct, which
supplies the Los
Angeles area with water from the Colorado River nearly 400 km to the east and the
714.5 km California
Aqueduct, which runs from the Sacramento-San
Joaquin River Delta to Lake
The Central Arizona Project
largest and most expensive aqueduct constructed in the United
stretches 336 miles from its source near Parker, Arizona to the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson.
Historically, agricultural societies have constructed aqueducts to
invented the water screw
to raise water for use in
irrigation of croplands.
Another use for aqueducts is to supply large cities with drinking
water. Some of the Roman aqueducts still supply
water to Rome
today. In California, USA, three large
aqueducts supply water over hundreds of miles to the Los Angeles
area. Two are from the Owens River area and a third is from the Colorado
In more recent times, aqueducts were used for transportation
purposes to allow canal barges
to cross ravines or valleys. During the
18th century, aqueducts were constructed as part of the boom in
In modern civil engineering
projects, detailed study and analysis of open channel flow
is commonly required to
support flood control, irrigation systems, and large water supply
systems when an aqueduct rather than a pipeline is the preferred
In the past, aqueducts often had channels made of earth or other
porous materials but significant amounts of water are lost through
such unlined aqueducts. As water gets increasingly scarce, these
canals are being lined with concrete
or impermeable soil. In some
cases, a new aqueduct is built alongside the old one because it
cannot be shut down during construction.
Ancient Greek aqueducts
Gard in southern France
- Barbegal aqueduct, France
- Aqueduto de São
Sebastião, in Coimbra, Portugal
- Santa Clara
Aqueduct, in Vila do
- Caesarea Maritima, Israel
- Kavala, Greece
- Patras, Greece
- Aqueduct of Segovia, Spain
- Acueducto de los Milagros, Mérida, Spain
- Tarragona, Spain
- Almuñécar, Spain (5
aqueducts - 4 still in use)
- Valens Aqueduct, Istanbul, Turkey
- Aqua Augusta, Italy
- Aqua Claudia and the Anio Novus, as
part of the Porta Maggiore, Rome,
- Skopje Aqueduct, Skopje, Republic of
the 16th century to transport water from the old capital city of
Malta, Mdina to the new
capital city Valletta. Today, only part is visible in the
localities of Balzan, Birkirkara and Santa
St-Clément, Montpellier, France - 17th century
- Águas Livres Aqueduct, in Lisbon, Portugal (built 1731-1748)
de Óbidos, in Obidos, Portugal (built 1570)
de Prata Aqueduct, in Evora, Portugal (built 1531-1537)
- Carioca Aqueduct in Rio de
Janeiro, Brazil (built
- Aqueduct of Teruel,
- Roquefavour aqueduct,
France - built between 1842 and 1847
Aqueduct, Manitoba, Canada - built between 1915 and 1919
- Canal de l'Aqueduc, Quebec,
- Päijänne Water Tunnel, a 120
kilometer long underground aqueduct (continuous tunnel) connecting
lake Päijänne to Greater
- Wan Mat
Saman Aqueduct, Kedah, Malaysia - built between 1900 and 1909
Aqueduct in Tamilnadu state, India
- Surviving Spanish aqueducts in Mexico:
- Levadas, of 17th
century aqueducts on the Portuguese island of Madeira.
- Espada Aqueduct, built
1735, in San Antonio,
- Quabbin Aqueduct, long tunnel, in Massachusetts, United
- Chicopee Valley Aqueduct, long, in Massachusetts, United
- Central Arizona
- California Aqueduct, a 444
miles (approx. 714.5 kilometers) long combination of canals,
pipelines and tunnels, United States.
Aqueduct, in New
York State, United States - at 85 miles (137 km) long, the world's
longest continuous underground tunnel.
- High Bridge, part of the former Croton Aqueduct, built in 1848, is the
oldest surviving bridge in New York City.
- Sextus Julius Frontinus,
De Aquaeductu Urbis Romae (On the water
management of the city of Rome), Translated by R. H.
- Aqueduct entry from Encyclopædia
Britannica Eleventh Edition
- Chanson, H. (2002). Certains Aspects de la Conception hydrauliques des
Aqueducs Romains. ('Some Aspect on the Hydraulic Design of Roman
Aqueducts.') Journal La Houille Blanche, No. 6/7,
pp. 43-57 (ISSN 0018-6368)
- Chanson, H. (2008). Hydraulics of Roman Aqueducts: What do we know?
Why should we learn ?" in Proceedings of World
Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2008 Ahupua'a, ASCE-EWRI
Education, Research and History Symposium, Hawaii, USA, Invited
Keynote lecture, 13-16 May, R.W. Badcock Jr and R. Walton Eds., 16
pages (ISBN 978-0-7844-0976-3)