Why?How?When?By whom?Where?More info?

The need for water                                                                                        Table of contents

People in a village or town with almost no water or in summer the non-existence of cool, fresh drinking water had to obtain it somewhere else. They often went to a river or a spring to retrieve the necessary water (in developping countries they do so even now). Some had to travel a long way with their precious cargo. An aqueduct brought relief. Drinkable water, but also water for irrigation and sanitary purposes was from then always at hand.

Height + size

Water can not flow uphill, so an aqueduct had to be built under a precise angle, otherwise the water would flow back to the source. That is why most of the aqueducts were raised above the landscape, sometimes more than 17 m high. One of the best preserved is the Pont du Gard in France (Nīmes), look for more information at France. The length of this aqueduct: 275 m and its hight: 50 m (its length used to be more than 50 km!).
There was another reason to build them that high; to keep thiefs and saboteurs (poison) away from the water. And .. (dust) contamination was less likely to happen up there.


HarderwijkSometimes a rivier / canal "runs over" an aqueduct. Sufficiently large aqueducts may also be usable by ships. They are a kind of viaduct, carrying water instead of a road etc. While a road bridge often carries the road at a more elevated level than the rest of the road, such a variation of height is not possible for an aqueduct, of course.

In the Netherlands there are several (modern) aqueducts, i.e.:
* Gouwe Aqueduct/Gouda
* Aqueduct under the Vliet/Leidschendam-Voorburg
Aqueduct Veluwemeer/Harderwijk
* Aqueduct Ringvaart Haarlemmermeer.
In France:
* Briare
* Digoin