Collecting, transporting and storing water in karst settings of southern Italy: some lessons learned from ancient hydraulic systems

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The karst landscapes of southern Italy, even though they show a lack or scarce presence of water at the surface, host a variety of ancient hydraulic works realized to collect and store water resources, to the advantage of the local settlements and for agricultural purposes as well. Ancient populations were forced to gain a deep knowledge of the territory in order to exploit the few available water resources, and developed for this aim several techniques, 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 value, which are briefly described in the present paper, together with other features used for water storage in karst. Studying these ancient works, and safeguarding them, should be a priority aimed at educating the young generations toward a sustainable use of the water resource.

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