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Water management systems in the past, Dellys, Algeria

The small port of Dellys is located 100 km east of Algiers, near the mouth of the River Sebaou. This is where the ancient city of Rusuccuru, the medieval Tedelles used to stand. The city remains a witness to several civilisations that have succeeded in Algeria. Dellys has been under Numidian, Roman, Arab, Ottoman, and French control.

All the civilizations that dwelled in Dellys city needed to come up with water management systems that would collect and conserve this vital natural resource, including e.g. rainwater harvesting methods, as well as schemes to reduce evaporation.

In Dellys, the remains of monuments testifying such works are numerous and varied: One can find everything ranging from wells and drainage galleries, to small cisterns and water towers, pipe surfaces, aqueducts, basin irrigation dams, neighbourhood and monumental fountains, baths, latrines, etc.

This case study focuses on the city’s water management systems that were developed particularly during the Roman era, namely: The cisterns, the vast ancient storage tanks, the aqueduct, but also the wells, watermills, and the steam rooms.