Water Supply and Public Health and Safety

Authored by: Theodore C. Crusberg

Handbook of Engineering Hydrology

Print publication date:  March  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9781466552494
eBook ISBN: 9781466552500
Adobe ISBN:


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One could say that water by any name has importance in virtually any religion and is mentioned in many ancient religious texts. The ancients recognized the need for clean water and developed technologies to channel it from source to place of need. In humid environments water was extracted directly from nearby water sources, but in arid environments water had to be both imported and protected from evaporation. This was done by moving water from sources at higher elevations to populations living at lower elevations by means of what are known as kanats [10]. These dug tunnels, found mostly in the Middle East but also in other arid regions of the world, captured water usually from a mountain stream or aquifer and diverted it underground to fertile lands where it could be used in agriculture for domestic purposes. Tunnels over 100 km long with shafts over 100 m deep were used for water delivery and retrieval, and evaporation of course was prevented until the water was bought up to the surface. To the ancients dating back as far as six millennia, water quality was mostly based upon aesthetic concerns such as turbidity and odor [28].

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