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Reservoirs in the United States

Circular 23

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Abstract

Man has engaged in the control of flowing water since history began. Among his early recorded efforts were reservoirs for muncipal water-supplies constructed near ancient Jerusalem to store water which was brought there in masonry conduits. 1/  Irrigation was practiced in Egypt as early as 2000 B. C. There the "basin system" was used from ancient times until the 19th century. The land was divided , into basins of approximately 40,000 acres, separated by earthen dikes. 2/  Flood waters of the Nile generally inundated the basins through canals, many of which were built by the Pharaohs. Even then the economic consequences of a deficient annual flood were recognized. Lake Maeris, which according to Herodotus was an ancient storage reservoir, is said to have had an area of 30,000 acres. In India, the British found at the time of their occupancy of the Presidency of Madras about 50,000 reservoirs for irrigation, many believed to be of ancient construction. 3/ During the period 115-130 A. D. reservoirs were built to improve the water-supply of Athens. Much has been written concerning the elaborate collection and distribution system built to supply Rome, and parts of it remain to this day as monuments to the engineering skill employed by the Romans in solving the problem of large-scale municipal water-supplies.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Reservoirs in the United States
Series title:
Circular
Series number:
23
Year Published:
1948
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Description:
72 p.
Country:
United States