It is clear today that water is one of the fundamental driving forces for sustainable development. At a time marked by increasing water demand and the negative effects of climate change (among others), the problem of water scarcity in the Mediterranean region becomes more critical. Hence, there is an urgent need to enhance water efficiency and to explore further alternative approaches to ensure water availability. Addressing traditional water harvesting and management techniques, which have been overlooked in favour of modern, often much less sustainable technologies, can be a useful and critical move in this direction.

In this framework, the HYDRIA project uses water as a ‘vehicle’ to unfold the diverse, yet common, tangible and intangible Mediterranean cultural heritage, through reviving some representative ancient water management visions, concepts and techniques of the distant and more recent past. The project aims to shed light to cases demonstrating the wisdom of our ancestors, which evolved hand-in-hand with the environment, or, on the other hand, to cases showing the catastrophic implications when civilisations did not respect and adapt to water availability and geo-climatic peculiarities. Moreover, the project aims to demonstrate that this past wisdom in the area of water collection, storage and transfer can be properly combined with modern technological innovations to help address today’s needs in harmony with the environment. Adapting peoples’ consuming behaviour and management patterns to more sustainable ones is an indirect long-term goal of the project.

The project endorses several case studies from Mediterranean countriess. These are presented in this website via a series of texts prepared by experts, photographic material, as well as animations, where appropriate, to explain the operation of complex water works. In the case studies links are made to cultural elements that depict how societies evolved around the water resources. Also, in each case study the current status of the remnants is presented and further references are proposed for the interested readers.

The target groups

HYDRIA targets primarily citizens of the Mediterranean countries, particularly young people and the formal and non formal educational community. Through the description of the case studies the project highlights the role of young citizens today, as water consumers and makes them reflect, and why not adjust the way they use water to more sustainable patterns.


The Arabic translation of the HYDRIA website was carried out by Mr Essam Nada, AOYE Executive Director, from Egypt.


The HYDRIA project was funded by the UNESCO Participation Programme, MIO-ECSDE and the GWP-Med.


The total HYDRIA project lasted from 01/11/2008 to 30/12/2009, with the launching of the current website.

Links to other projects

The Hydria project is in line with the overall policy of MIO-ECSDE and MEdIES. It is closely linked to other initiatives such as:

  1. (i) The “water in the Mediterranean” educational material prepared in 8 Mediterranean languages and disseminated in various countries. Read more at the MEdIES website
  2. (ii) The “Gift of Rain” project of MIO-ECSDE and GWP-Med that entails construction or repair of rainwater cistern infrastructures, at public buildings in several Cyclades islands, as well as an educational material for Greek Students. Read more at MEdIES website


For more information on HYDRIA please contact the MIO-ECSDE and MEdIES Secretariat: Programme officer: Ms Iro Alampei (