10. Differences

What are the differences with modern aqueducts?
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  1. What are the differences between ancient and modern aqueducts?
View inside the channel of the Aqueducto das Aguas Livres, the 18 km long aqueduct from the 18th c supplying Lisbon (Portugal). Original is was an open channel system, on a later date furnished with iron pipes. Near central Lisbon the channel / pipes crosses the Alcantara valley by means of an aqueduct bridge of almost 1.000 meter length and a maximum height of 65 meters (the maximum level of the Roman Pont du Gard channel was almost 50 meters above the river bed).
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  • The transport of Roman aqueduct water was based on gravity, there was almost no pressure involved like in pipes
  • Often the water was transported in open channels, only in towns (lead) pipes were used. Note: in the eastern part of the Roman empire (Greece, Turkey etc) also pipes were used in aqueducts
  • En route there were no storage facilities, apart from reservoirs in the Roman cities
  • The water flowed constantly; only in some towns stopcocks were applied
  • There was no quality control nor water purification
  • The bulk of the water went to public fountains, just a small part was for personal hygiene or industry
  • Measuring water consumption was problematic (see quinaria and calix)