7. Economy

Who paid for the construction of an aqueduct?
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  1. Was aqueduct water free of charge?
  2. What does an aquduct cost?
  3. Who paid for the construction of an aqueduct?
The cost [of the Marcia, one of the 11 aqueducts of Rome] was approximately two million sesterces per kilometre.
Leveau (1991) estimated that it cost between one and three million sesterces per kilometre on average to build an aqueduct.
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The construction of an aqueduct often took many years and was expensive. Nevertheless the water as delivered to public fountains was free of charge. Only those favored by the Emperor or the local rulers had a private connection to an aqueduct and had to pay for the supply. Extremely rich people had a local aqueduct line tapping one of the main aqueducts (like the owners of the villa's Vignacce, Sette Bassi, or Quintilii near Rome). Outside Rome some ordered the construction of their own, private aqueduct.

We do not know that much about the costs of aqueducts. The scarce information available leads to believe that the estimated cost was 1 to 3 million sesterces per kilometer. Apart from private aqueducts, often the Emperor or a local maecenas brought in the major part of the needed sum, supplemented by a contribution of the town involved.