The water supply of Athens through the centuries

D. Koutsoyiannis, and N. Mamassis, The water supply of Athens through the centuries, Schriften der Deutschen Wasserhistorischen Gesellschaft, edited by K. Wellbrock, 27 (1), Siegburg, 2018.



The sites where major ancient civilizations were developed had similar climatological and hydrological conditions. All sites have in common warm and dry climate but also abundance of water from a large river crossing the area. However, the sites of ancient Greek civilizations, while they also have warm and dry climate, are located in water deficient areas without large rives. The city of Athens played an important role to the Greek civilization and in general to the ancient world. It has been the cradle of democracy, the system of government in which all citizens are equally involved in taking decisions and actions. The natural environment of the Athens territory has been warm and dry, and the nearby Kephisos river has had ephemeral flow. The water scarcity of the area has been mentioned in many legends and ancient texts. Several aqueducts were constructed in several periods of the antiquity forming a network of pipelines.

The modern water supply system of Athens is an admirable hydraulic work. It includes four reservoirs in areas with different climates and geomorphological conditions, a complex aqueduct system and several water uses. The longest path of the water is about 217 km from Evinos Dam to Athens. The ancient Greek values and perspectives have been useful in the modern system design and management and have equal potential for modern problem solving. Several ancient Greek legacies are relevant in modern problem solving, including: (a) the creation of philosophy and episteme, (b) the conception of the principle of Orthos Logos (Right Reason), and (c) the creation of democracy.

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Our works that reference this work:

1. G.-F. Sargentis, R. Ioannidis, G. Karakatsanis, S. Sigourou, N. D. Lagaros, and D. Koutsoyiannis, The development of the Athens water supply system and inferences for optimizing the scale of water infrastructures, Sustainability, 11 (9), 2657, doi:10.3390/su11092657, 2019.