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					        Chapter 1

Historical Perspective of Water
    Use and Development
            Chapter Headings
•   Drinking Water for Early Civilizations
•   Early Irrigation and Flood-Control Projects
•   Early Water Transportation Development
•   Early Hydropower Development
         What is Civilization?
• For civilization to emerge you need
  – Agriculture
  – Cities
  – “Leisure time” to develop skilled workers
• Among the key features are
  – Ability to manage water
  – Suitable soil and climate for agriculture
   Managing Water Resources
• Even in the earliest civilizations we can
  find evidence of water management
  – Delivery of drinking water to cities using
    qanats and aqueducts
  – Routing of wastewater out of cities
  – Delivery of water for agriculture through
  – Transportation
  – Hydropower
       Drinking Water for Early
• Earliest civilization centers emerged in:
  – Mesopotamia along the Tigris and Euphrates
    Rivers (Iraq)
  – Indus River (Pakistan)
  – Yangtze River (China)
  – Nile River (Egypt)
  – Greek and Roman empires (Mediterranean)
Figure 1.1
• Qanat system developed in Mesopotamia
  – From a Semitic word meaning “to dig”
  – Semitic: subfamily of Afro-Asiatic language
    family that includes Hebrew and Arabic
• Delivered ground water by gravity from an
  upland area where it was plentiful to
  lowland agricultural areas and cities
• Qanat shafts served 3
    – Air supply
    – Remove soil and rock
    – Keep tunnels from being
      too long
                                 View down a shaft to water below


                                Aerial photo showing collapsed shafts
• Roman empire developed an extensive
  system of aqueducts to deliver surface
  water by gravity to cities
• Water was delivered to fountains and
  baths where citizens collected and used it
• Allowed cities to grow in size
• Reduced amount of time that individuals
  (usually women) spent obtaining daily
Women at a stream
collecting water to
carry to their village in

Aqueduct in Segovia, Spain
Roman public bath at Pompei, Italy
Coaca Maxima (main sewer) for ancient Rome
Example of routing wastewater away from cities
Wind Gap Pumping Plant, Tehachapi Range north of LA
California Aqueduct
       Drinking Water Today
• Supplying drinking water is still an
  important function today
• Many problems
  – Water quality (bacteria, carcinogens, heavy
    metals, etc.)
  – Water quantity (competition with agricultural
    for water)
• We’ll discuss these in later chapters
            Chapter Headings
•   Drinking Water for Early Civilizations
•   Early Irrigation and Flood-Control Projects
•   Early Water Transportation Development
•   Early Hydropower Development
 Early Irrigation and Flood Control
• Civilization centers developed where soils
  were fertile
• For soils to be fertile nutrients must be
  collected and deposited in an area so that
  they become concentrated
  – Flooding deposits rich mountain (volcanic)
    soils in river floodplains
  – Glaciers deposit rich topsoils at their terminus
    and in wind blown loess
 Early Irrigation and Flood Control
• Floodplains are often in dry areas that
  require irrigation
• Nile River civilization is a good example
  – Sediments from the mountains of Ethiopia
    and Sudan are deposited in the floodplains of
  – Ancient Egyptians developed an elaborate
    irrigation system for Nile floodplain
From Chapter 3
Simple devices for lifting water from the river into irrigation canals:
shadoufs, tambour or Achimedes screw, and saqia water wheel
    Early Irrigation in the U.S.
• Anasazi Indians developed irrigation
  systems in Southwest desert region
  around 950 AD
Anasazi dwellings at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, NM
R.G. Vivian, Chaco
Canyon Handbook
Chaco Canyon irrigation

                          R.G. Vivian, Chaco Canyon Handbook
     Early Irrigation in the U.S.
• Brigham Young and Mormon followers began
  extensive irrigation system in Salt Lake Valley of
  Utah in 1847
• Region receives 15 in of annual rainfall
• Constructed diversion dams across rivers and
  diverted water into irrigation ditches
  – Small diversion dams were made of logs, rocks and
  – Irrigation ditches were made using horse-drawn plows
    and hand digging
    Early Irrigation in the U.S.
• Construction of an irrigation ditch was not
  – A ditch too steep would cause fast flow that
    would erode the ditch and wash it out
  – A ditch that was too flat would not move water
• Rule of thumb was a fall of about 2 feet
  per mile
    Early Irrigation in the U.S.
• Homestead Act passed in 1862
  – Opened the floodgates of development in the
  – Anyone over the age of 21 could acquire
    ownership of 160 acres if
     • Lived on it for 5 years
     • Made improvements to the property
  – Cost was $1.25 per acre
• Water for irrigation became a critical issue
Sears, Roebuck & Co. sold windmills to pump groundwater
    Early Irrigation in the U.S.
• In 1870’s Horace Greeley, editor of NY
  Tribune promoted settlement in the West
  with the phrase “Go West, Young Man”
• Time was ripe for western migration
  – Civil War ended in 1865
  – Transcontinental railroad completed in 1869
• Organized a settlement in Colorado (today
  called Greeley) to replicate the irrigation
  successes of Mormons in Utah
     Early Irrigation in the U.S.
• Late 1800’s was a period of unusually wet
  weather in West
• As normal rainfall returned many settlers without
  irrigation water were forced to abandon their
  land and move into town to work in other
• Drought period in 1930’s forced more settlers to
  abandon land and become migrant workers
  – Described in “Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck
Central Arizona Irrigation Project
            Irrigation Today
• Irrigation today is extensive in western
  U.S. and other areas of the world
• A number of associated problems
  – Competition for water with urban sources
  – Salinization of soils
  – Sedimentation of reservoirs
  – Effect on stream flow and water quality
• Will discuss these in later chapters
            Chapter Headings
•   Drinking Water for Early Civilizations
•   Early Irrigation and Flood-Control Projects
•   Early Water Transportation Development
•   Early Hydropower Development
Early Transportation Development
• One of the reasons civilization centers
  developed near rivers is these were the
• River and canal systems used for boat
• Nile and Yangtze River are examples
• Later extensive canal system developed in
Lock and lockkeeper’s house, Castlefield, England
Early Transportation Development
• Erie Canal constructed 1817-1825
  – Connected Buffalo on Lake Erie to Albany on
    Hudson River
  – 363 miles
  – Cut travel time from 20 days to 6 days
  – Cut transportation costs from $100 to $5/ton
• Ohio & Erie Canal connected Ohio River
  to Lake Erie
Check Google map to see full extent of St. Lawrence River
Canal boat pulled by mule on towpath on the C &O canal
In Washington DC; canal ran 184 miles from Cumberland MD to DC
Miraflores Lock, Panama Canal (“mules” on tracks)
Early Transportation Development
• Mississippi River has been through history
  and continues to be a major transportation
  system for U.S.
• Before steamboats keelboats and flatboats
  were used to move produce down river
• After steamboats developed (1810) traffic
  ran up and downstream
• Army Corps of Engineers responsible for
  clearing snags
Jolly Flatboat men, George Caleb Bingham
        Water Transport Today
• Water transportation not as critical today due to
  rail and trucking industries
• Still a source of conflict
   – Navigational needs vs. urban and agricultural use of
   – In 2003 Corp of Engineers released water from Lake
     Lanier and lower lakes on Chattahooche to float
     barge traffic at Columbus
   – Later that year drought conditions caused record low
     lake levels
• We’ll discuss this in later chapters
            Chapter Headings
•   Drinking Water for Early Civilizations
•   Early Irrigation and Flood-Control Projects
•   Early Water Transportation Development
•   Early Hydropower Development
Early Hydropower Development
• Water wheels were used to grind grain as early
  as 100 BC in Greece
• Until the time of steam engines, water mills were
  a major source of energy
• By 1800 there were 500,000 water mills in
• Mills ground corn and wheat, powered bellows
  and hammers to make iron, ground ingredients
  for paper, cut wood, and powered textile mills
Rock Run Grist Mill, Susquehanna State Park, MD
overshot mill for grinding corn
Grist mill
Bottom millstone exposed
Walter and Merrits. 2008. Science. Page 299
Littleton Mill undershot wheel, Littleton, NH
Textile mill diagram
Early Hydropower Development
• With the invention of the light bulb by Thomas
  Edison in 1879 hydropower began to be used to
  generate electricity
• One of the first generating plants was built at
  Niagara Falls to supply electricity to Buffalo NY
  – Designed by George Westinghouse
• Hydropower production peaked in the 1940’s
  when it provided 1/3 of electricity consumed in
Niagara Falls
   Niagara Falls (right) and American Falls (left)
Hydroelectric plant was to the left of American Falls?
Two inlets above the fall diverted water into canals (right photo # 1 & 2); water
              flowed down canals to power houses (left diagram)
George Westinghouse, 1846-1914
Westinghouse turbine, 1925
Hoover Dam
         Hydropower Today
• Hydropower is still important but ability to
  transmit electricity is making some dams
  less critical
• Movement to remove dams in some cases
• Focus on environmental impact of dams
  on fish such as salmon
• We’ll discuss this in later chapters
        Chapter 1 Summary
• Management of water resources has been
  a hallmark of civilizations throughout
• Water managed to provide drinking water,
  irrigation, flood control, navigation, and
• Although we’ve been managing water for
  centuries, many old and new problems
  now confront us

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