Advertisement

Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 1, pp 143–152 | Cite as

The historical use of water resources in karst

  • Mario PariseEmail author
  • Mariangela Sammarco
Thematic Issue

Abstract

Karst landscapes are characterized by lack or scarce presence of water at the surface. Ancient populations had, therefore, to face the issue of water availability by gaining a deep knowledge of the territories where they settled. Several techniques were developed at this aim, until reaching a high level of capability to collect, transport, and distribute water, even at long distances. Many areas in southern Italy still nowadays present hydraulic works of remarkable interest and historical values, most of which develop underground for long stretches. The present paper is an overview of the main ancient works designed and built by man to exploit water resources in karst; it describes some examples of surface channels and underground aqueducts, together with other features used for water storage in karst. The lessons learned from the ability of ancient populations to use water resources in a sustainable way are worthy to be re-evaluated nowadays, in times when we are periodically facing hydric crisis and droughts.

Keywords

Karst Water resources History Underground aqueducts Southern Italy 

References

  1. Aley T (2000) Water and land-use problems in areas of conduit aquifers. In: Klimchouk AB, Ford DC, Palmer AN, Dreybrodt W (eds) Speleogenesis. Evolution of karst aquifers. National Speleological Society, Huntsville, Alabama, pp 481–484Google Scholar
  2. Al-Taiee TM (2012) Kahrezes (Qanats) A ground water harvesting technology in arid and semi arid regions. In: Proceedings of 3rd IWA Specialized Conference on “Water and Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations”, Istanbul, 22–24 March 2012, pp 14–22Google Scholar
  3. Angelakis AN (2009) A brief history of water supply and wastewater management in ancient Greece. In: Proceedings of IWA Specialized Conference on 2nd International Symposium on “Water and Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations”, May 28–30 2009, Bari (Italy)Google Scholar
  4. Ashby T (1935) The aqueducts of ancient Rome. In: Richmond IA (ed) OxfordGoogle Scholar
  5. Atalay I (1999) Land use in the karstic lands in the Mediterranean region. Int J Speleol 26B(1/4):111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bakalowicz M (2005) Karst groundwater: a challenge for new resources. Hydrogeol J 13:148–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bixio R, Parise M, Saj S, Traverso M (2007) L’acquedotto sotterraneo di Gravina in Puglia “Sant’Angelo-Fontane della Stella”. Opera Ipogea 1–2:105–112Google Scholar
  8. Blackman DR (1979) The volume of water delivered by the four great aqueducts of Rome. Papers of the British School at Rome 46Google Scholar
  9. Bonacci O, Ljubenkov I, Knezic S (2012) The water on a small karst island: the island of Korcula (Croatia) as an example. Environ Earth Sci 66:1345–1367CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brancelj A, Culver DC (2005) Epikarstic communities. In: Culver DC, White WB (eds) Encyclopedia of caves. Elsevier Academic Press, New York, pp 223–229Google Scholar
  11. Brinkmann R, Parise M (2012) Karst environments: problems, management, human impacts, and sustainability. An introduction to the Special Issue. J Cave Karst Stud 74(2):135–136Google Scholar
  12. Calò F, Parise M (2006) Evaluating the human disturbance to karst environments in southern Italy. Acta Carsol 35(2):47–56Google Scholar
  13. Castellani V, Dragoni W (1991) Italian tunnels in antiquity. Tunn Tunn 23(3):55–57Google Scholar
  14. Del Prete S, Parise M (2013) An overview of the geological and morphological constraints in the excavation of artificial cavities. In: Filippi M, Bosak P (eds) Proceedings of 16th International Congress Speleology, Brno, 21–28 July 2013, pp 236–241Google Scholar
  15. Delle Rose M, Giuri F, Guastella P, Parise M, Sammarco M (2006) Aspetti archeologici e condizioni geologico-morfologiche degli antichi acquedotti pugliesi. L’esempio dell’acquedotto del Triglio nell’area tarantina. Opera Ipogea 1–2:33–50Google Scholar
  16. Eslamian S, Okhravi SS, Faziolahi H, Eslamian F (2012) Sustainable management of water resources with techniques of rainwater harvesting in ancient and present. In: Proceedings of 3rd IWA Specialized Conference on “Water and Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations”, Istanbul, 22–24 March 2012, pp 252–258Google Scholar
  17. Fiorillo F, Guadagno FM (2012) Long karst spring discharge time series and droughts occurrence in Southern Italy. Environ Earth Sci 62:2273–2283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fonseca C (1980) La civiltà rupestre in Puglia. In: AAVV, La Puglia tra Bisanzio e l’occidente. Milano, pp 36–116Google Scholar
  19. Ford D, Williams PW (2007) Karst hydrogeology and geomorphology. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Frumkin A (1999) Interaction between karst, water and agriculture over the climatic gradient of Israel. Int J Speleol 26B(1/4):99–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hodge AT (1992) Roman aqueducts and water supply, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. Howard KWF (2014) Sustainable cities and the groundwater governance challenge. Environ Earth Sci. doi: 10.1007/s12665-014-3370-y
  23. Judson S, Kahane A (1963) Underground drainage ways in southern Etruria and northern Latium. Papers of the British School at Rome, vol 31, pp 74–99Google Scholar
  24. Koloski Ostrow AO (ed) (2001) Water use and hydraulics in the Roman city. Archaeological Institute of America, Colloquia and Conference Papers no. 3, Kendall/Hunt Publication Co., p 131Google Scholar
  25. Laureano P (1993) Giardini di pietra. Bollati Boringhieri, TorinoGoogle Scholar
  26. Laureano P (2001) Water atlas. Traditional knowledge to combat desertification. Bollati Boringhieri, TorinoGoogle Scholar
  27. Lopez N, Spizzico V, Parise M (2009) Geomorphological, pedological, and hydrological characteristics of karst lakes at Conversano (Apulia, southern Italy) as a basis for environmental protection. Environ Geol 58(2):327–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mays LW (2012) A brief history of cisterns in antiquity. In: Proceedings of 3rd IWA Specialty Conference on “Water and Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations”, Istanbul, 22–24 March 2012, pp 244–251Google Scholar
  29. Mays LW, Koutsoyiannis D, Angelakis AN (2007) A brief history of urban water supply in the antiquity. Water Sci Technol Water Supply 7(1):1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Parise M (2009a) Lakes in the Apulian karst (Southern Italy): geology, karst morphology, and their role in the local history. In: Miranda FR, Bernard LM (eds) Lake pollution research progress. Nova Science Publishers Inc., New York, pp 63–80Google Scholar
  31. Parise M (2009b) Distribution and characteristics of ancient underground aqueducts in Italy. In: Proceedings of IWA Specialty Conference on 2nd International Symposium on “Water and wastewater technologies in ancient civilizations”, Bari, 28–30 May 2009Google Scholar
  32. Parise M (2012a) Underground aqueducts: a first preliminary bibliography around the world. In: Proceedings of 3rd IWA Specialty Conference on “Water and Wastewater Technologies in Ancient Civilizations”, Istanbul, 22–24 March 2012, pp 65–72Google Scholar
  33. Parise M (2012b) Management of water resources in karst environments, and negative effects of land use changes in the Murge area (Apulia). Karst Dev 2(1):16–20Google Scholar
  34. Parise M, Gunn J (eds) (2007) Natural and anthropogenic hazards in karst areas: recognition, Analysis and Mitigation. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 279Google Scholar
  35. Parise M, Pascali V (2003) Surface and subsurface environmental degradation in the karst of Apulia (southern Italy). Environ Geol 44:247–256CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Parise M, Federico A, Delle Rose M, Sammarco M (2003) Karst terminology in Apulia (southern Italy). Acta Carsol 32(2):65–82Google Scholar
  37. Parise M, Bixio R, Burri E, Caloi V, Del Prete S, Galeazzi C, Germani C, Guglia P, Meneghini M, Sammarco M (2009) The map of ancient underground aqueducts: a nation-wide project by the Italian Speleological Society. In: Proceedings of 15th International Congress Speleol, Kerrville (Texas, USA), vol 3, pp 2027–2032Google Scholar
  38. Parise M, Galeazzi C, Bixio R, Dixon M (2013a) Classification of artificial cavities: a first contribution by the UIS Commission. In: Filippi M, Bosak P (eds) Proceedings of 16th International Congress Speleology, vol 2, pp 230–235Google Scholar
  39. Parise M, Marangella A, Maranò P, Sammarco M, Sannicola G (2013b) Collecting, transporting and storing water in karst settings of southern Italy: some lessons learned from ancient hydraulic systems. Water Sci Technol Water Supply 13(3):674–682CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Raikes RL (1966) Beidha prehistoric climate and water supply. In: Kirkbride D (ed) Five seasons at the pre-pottery neolithic village of Beidha in Jordan. Palestine Exploration Quarterly 98, pp 68–72Google Scholar
  41. Teuma EP (2005) Qanat, saqqajja and roman aqueduct system at Rabat, Malta. In: Proceedings of History Week 2003, Historical Society of Malta, pp 43–56Google Scholar
  42. Voudouris KS, Christodoulakos Y, Steiakakis E, Angelakis AN (2013) Hydrogeological characteristics of Hellenic aqueducts-like Qanats. Water 5:1326–1345CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. White WB (1988) Geomorphology and hydrology of karst terrains. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  44. Williams PW (1983) The role of subcutaneous zone in karst hydrology. J Hydrol 61:45–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Williams P (2008) The role of the epikarst in karst and cave hydrogeology: a review. Int J Speleol 37(1):1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wilson A (2001) Urban water storage, distribution, and usage in roman North Africa. In: Koloski Ostrow AO (ed) Water use and hydraulics in the Roman city. Archaeological Institute of America, Colloquia and Conference Papers no. 3, Kendall/Hurt Publication Co., pp 83–96Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Council of ItalyInstitute of Research for the Hydrogeological ProtectionBariItaly
  2. 2.University of SalentoLecceItaly

Personalised recommendations