AQUA project

The AQUA project aims to evaluate water management efficiency from the 16th to the 19th centuries and correspondingly to establish recommendations on water and energy saving methods in contemporary gardens and landscapes, enabling future eco-innovations.In Portugal, the existence of a large body of knowledge and a cohort of hydraulic experts is evident between the utopian project for an aqueduct by Francisco de Holanda (1571) and the construction of the Free Waters Aqueduct, inaugurated in 1748, bringing water to Lisbon from Sintra over a distance of 58 km. With this water channelled to Lisbon, over than twenty fountains were built, increasing the drinking water supply for the population. Despite water distribution and drainage systems having been only built in the second half of the 19th century, before that, advanced water management practices were developed and applied in the context of villas and monastic enclosures. These gardens qua laboratories for hydraulic innovations were essential to further developments in water supply systems. They were governed by sustainability principles associated to water savings and water wise management.

History of Science and Technology leads this multidisciplinary project involving collaboration between historians, engineers and landscape architects to promote bridging boundaries between the Humanities and the Sciences. AQUA’s international team sets three main goals:

  1. To build historical knowledge on water management in the early modern period;

  2. To evaluate early modern water management efficiency at a worldwide level;

  3. To establish specifications on water saving in gardens and landscapes, enabling the development of novel models of water saving.

AQUA's logo in the making

by João Puga