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Holy Angel University

School of Engineering and Architecture


Department of Civil Engineering

WATER RESOURCES ENGINEERING


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

Objective To introduce the different water systems and


innovations throughout ages and their significance to
human water needs.

Content ✓ Timetable of the history of early water systems and


innovations.

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 1 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

2.1 TIMETABLE

200, 000 years ago - Modern humans (Homo sapiens) have dwelled on this earth most of that time
as hunter-gatherers

50 000 years ago - modern man began to inhabit every corner of the world and people were
constantly on the move

Some 10 000 years ago - people adopted an agrarian way of life, mankind established permanent
settlements

Sedentary agricultural life made it possible to construct villages, cities and eventually
states, all of which were highly dependent on water.

8000–7000 B.C. - The earliest known permanent settlement, which can be classified as urban, is
Jericho , located near springs and other bodies of water.

3000 B.C.- In Egypt there are traces of wells, and in Mesopotamia of stone rainwater channels.

6500 BC - Wells dug have been found in the Jezreel Valley

An Israel Antiquities Authority worker


descends into a well discovered in the
Jezreel Valley in 2012. (photo credit: Yotam
Tepper, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities
Authority)

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 2 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

The city of Jericho is


remembered for the
story in the Book of
Joshua in the Bible
regarding its destruction
by the Israelites.
Excavations have
revealed that Jericho is
one of the earliest
settlements dating back
to 9000 BCE. It also has
the oldest known
protective wall in the
world. Continuing
excavations have
revealed stone towers
which are even older. The
reason for its earliest
settlements are the
springs which are found
in and near the city.
These springs supply the
area with enough water
to sustain a large population. We are going to cover the settlement of Jericho from its earliest
beginnings until the Battle of Jericho in the Bible.

An ancient Egyptian Nilometer. Egyptian


archaeologists carrying routine excavations at the
so-called “Avenue of Sphinxes,” have unearthed the
remains of a 5th century Egyptian Christian church
and a "nilometer," a structure used to measure the
level of the Nile during floods.
(decodingtheheavens.com)

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 3 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

An ancient Egyptian well. A well was essential


in most mansions. That well had a circular shaft
in which a stairway descends in two flights to a
ring platform around the well itself. However,
some scholars believe that there were few if
any ponds in these mansions, suggesting that
places where ponds have been recorded were
simply from covered over wells.
(touregypt.net)

A Mesopotamian Cistern http://turkishtravelblog.com/)

EARLY BRONZE AGE CITY OF MOHENJO-DARO - located in modern Pakistan, archaeologists have
found hundreds of ancient wells, water pipes and toilets.

SECOND MILLENNIUM B.C. - The first evidence of the purposeful construction of the water supply,
bathrooms, toilets and drainage in Europe comes from Bronze Age Minoan (and Mycenaean) Crete.

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 4 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro is the


earliest public water tank of the ancient
world. The tank itself measures
approximately 12 meters north-south
and 7 meters wide, with a maximum
depth of 2.4 meters.

Most scholars agree that this tank


would have been used for special
religious functions where water was
used to purify and renew the well being
of the bathers.

Although there have been no traces found about any godly figures in the civilization it might be a
special place for spiritual and religious purpose. Even today we can observe this kind of baths in a
few ancient temples across India.

18TH CENTURY BC – Knossos, the


capital of Crete (Minoan Civilization)
had a well-organized water system for
bringing in clean water, taking out waste
water and storm sewage canals for
overflow when there was heavy rain. It
was also one of the first uses of a flush
toilet.

In addition to sophisticated water and


sewer systems the Minoan Civilization
also devised elaborate heating systems.

The Minoans were the first civilization to


use underground clay pipes for
sanitation and water supply.

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 5 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

The Ancient Greeks of Athens and Asia Minor also used an indoor plumbing system, used for
pressurized showers.

Persian Qanats
and ab anbars
have been used
for water supply
and cooling in the
Middle East.

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 6 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

800 BC - The only reliable sources the Mayans had for their water were from the sky above
them and the ground below.

2000 YEARS AGO - Roman


architects and hydraulic
engineers built the magnificent
water transporting bridge known
as Pont du Gard

Romans used tunnels to


get to prized
underground springs
and bring water through
hills and mountains. A
tunnel might be five, 10,
or even 20 feet down.

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 7 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

200-400AD - The first rock


cut step wells in India were
constructed

Chand Baori, in the village


of Abhaneri near Bandikui,
Rajasthan.

Stepwells, are wells or ponds in which


the water may be reached by
descending a set of steps.

Agrasen Ki Baoli in New Delhi

Shravanabelagola Stepped
pond,Karnataka

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 8 of 11


Lecture 2 – History of early Water systems and Innovations

MIDDLE AND EARLY MODERN AGE - Pail closets,


outhouses, and cesspits were used to collect
human waste. The use of human waste as fertilizer
was especially important in China and Japan, where
cattle manure was less available.

A pail closet (or pail privy) was a room used for the
disposal of human excreta, under the pail system
(or Rochdale system) of waste removal. The closet
was a small outdoor privy which contained a seat,
underneath which a portable receptacle was
placed.
An outhouse (or privy) is a small structure, separate
from a main building, which covers a pit latrine or
a dry toilet.

Instructor: Engr. Paulo T. De Jesus Page 9 of 11