About Aqueducts for Kids

Updated April 17, 2017

A long time ago, water wasn't as accessible as it is now. People had to go down to the river to collect water for drinking and washing. Fortunately, someone stumbled upon the idea of the aqueducts. Aqueducts were extensive stone waterways. Similar to modern sewer systems, they were used to transmit fresh water to places for drinking, bathing and cooking.

The First Aqueducts

The Assyrians, early inhabitants of an area now including Iraq, built the first aqueducts. One famous Assyrian leader, King Sennacherib, commissioned the first aqueduct, the aqueduct of Jervan, in the 7th century B.C. The aqueduct of Jervan transmitted water from the Greater Zab River to the ancient city of Nineveh, which was 50 miles away. To help hold up the enormous waterway, curved overpasses 30 feet tall were built.

Aqueducts of Rome

Since dirt and debris would wash into Rome's rivers, Romans who drank from them often got sick; some of them even died. The pollution of Rome's rivers caused the Roman government to authorise the building of aqueducts more than 2,000 years ago. Even though the Romans weren't inventors of the aqueduct, theirs remain well-known because they were particularly well-designed, structurally sound, and in many places survive to this day. Some of them remained in use until fairly recent times.

Underground Aqueducts

Ancient Rome had 11 aqueducts that were constructed over a span of 500 years. The majority of these gigantic waterways were constructed underground to keep the water travelling through them free from pollution. Every day, more than a million cubic meters of water were dispensed via underground aqueducts in Rome. According to the Rome history website UNRV, that's more water than is commonly available in most cities today.

Famous Aqueducts

The remnants of ancient aqueducts still exist today in places such as Spain, Turkey, France, and Germany. The Aqueduct of Miracles in Merida, Spain, got its name because the structure was incredibly awe-inspiring. Another famous aqueduct is the Aspendos, which is one of Turkey's largest. Although it was constructed hundreds of years ago, it is still in extremely excellent condition. There's also the well-known Pont du Gard aqueduct in France. The Romans built it with stone blocks and mortar to make it sturdy. Lastly, there's the Les Ferreres aqueduct. It was built in Spain during the time of the Roman Emperor Augustus. It was 249 meters in length and 27 meters in height.

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About the Author

Mike Jones is an Atlanta native who has been writing professionally since 2000. He has written a number of entertainment, health and how-to articles for online publications such as eHow and Answerbag. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Regent University.