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The water supply to Athens from antiquity to the Turkish occupation 

Athens, since ancient times, has faced severe problems caused by water scarcity. Surface water was always scarce and the city was usually supplied with water from springs and wells. At the same time, there were many fountains scattered throughout the city, as well as numerous reservoirs in which rainwater was collected.

One of the best known ancient aqueducts was the Peisistrateion, built by the tyrant Peisistratus in 530 BC, which drew water from the springs of Mount Hymettus.
However, the most important project for the water supply of Athens was Hadrian's Aqueduct, which was constructed from 134 AD to 140 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. The Hadrianic Aqueduct stretched from the foot of Parnitha down to Lycabettus, where the Hadrianic Reservoir was constructed.

Hadrian's Aqueduct and the Reservoir operated supplying water to the area of Athens until the Ottoman period. At that time, the aqueduct was abandoned, resulting in the collapse of its flimsy walls. Under these circumstances, Athenians during the Ottoman period turned to the construction of wells in their homes.

Learn more about Hadrian's Aqueduct

The water supply of Athens since the establishment of the new Greek state

During the national liberation struggle there were many disasters in the city's water infrastructure. Consequently, after the liberation, Athens' water supply problem was acute.
On the initiative of the municipal authorities, important works were carried out, such as repairs and cleaning of Hadrian's Aqueduct, which was discovered in the 1840s and work began on its repair. In 1870, Hadrian's Reservoir was also discovered, which was reconstructed and operated until 1940.
The construction of other small aqueducts was also important, but these works did not have any significant effect on the treatment of water scarcity. The municipal fountains that existed in Athens were also inadequate, contributing little or nothing to the daily needs of water consumption. For this reason, the water carriers who transported and sold water to Athens from the springs of neighboring villages such as Kifissia and Maroussi were making a killing.
In the 1870s, under the government of Charilaos Trikoupis, as well as in 1899, under the government of Georgios Theotokis, the problem of the water supply to the capital of the Greek state was a major issue, but due to political and economic circumstances neither of the two governments managed to proceed towards the completion of a project.
In 1911, under the government of Eleftherios Venizelos, the issue of the water supply problem of Athens returned to the forefront. However, with the outbreak of the First World War, the project was again cancelled.

The construction of the Modern Water Supply System of the Capital: The Marathon Project  

By the end of the First World War and the end of the national strife, the water supply of Athens was an urgent necessity. After the Asia Minor disastrous war and the increase in the population of Athens, new needs arose.

The solution came on December 23, 1924, with the signing of the Contract between the Greek State, the American ULEN Company and the Bank of Athens, where, around 1925, the construction of the first modern water supply projects in the area of the capital began.

According to the contract, ULEN was to undertake the construction, maintenance and operation of the water supply works of Athens, Piraeus and the surrounding area.  For the operation of the works, the Athens-Piraeus and Surrounding Area Water Company was established.

The first major project was the construction of the Marathon Dam (1926 - 1929). The Dam is lined with Pentelic marble, a peculiarity that makes it unique in the world!

It is 54 meters high and 285 meters long. The interior is solid concrete, made of crushed marble, cement and volcanic ash. The construction of the Dam resulted in the formation of the artificial Lake of Marathon, at the confluence of the Haradros and Varnavas torrents, with a capacity of 44 million cubic meters of water.

To transport the water from Lake Marathon to Athens, the 13.4 km long Bogiati Tunnel was constructed. The Bogiati Tunnel, through a tubular duct, transported untreated water to the Water Treatment Plant in Galatsi and from there it was channelled through the new network.

In June 1931 the new water supply system was officially launched.


Learn more about the Marathon Dam by clicking here (link https://www.eydap.gr/SocialResponsibility/Society/90YearsMarathonDam/)

Tour the Marathon Dam Settlement by clicking here [link https://www.eydap.gr/SocialResponsibility/Society/MarathonDamTour/) . 

The development of the water supply system: the Yliki, Mornos and Evinos  

In 1956, due to the continuing population growth of Athens, the water from the natural lake of Yliki in Boeotia was used to supply the city with water. Yliki has the peculiarity of being located in an area of low altitude. Thus, in order to enable the pumping of the water, floating and land-based pumping stations are operated. The main pumping station in Yliki is currently the largest in Europe.
Of major importance to the water supply of Athens is the technical work carried out on the Mornos River in 1981. The dam is the tallest soil dam in Europe, with a height of 126 metres. Water reaches Athens through the Mornos aqueduct, the second largest aqueduct in Europe.
Another major project that supports Athens' water supply is the rerouting of the Evinos River to the Mornos reservoir, with the construction of a dam and a tunnel, completed in 2001. The 29.4 km long tunnel, which transports the water of the Evinos to the Mornos reservoir, was completed in less than two years, which is a world record for the completion of a long tunnel.

Two major aqueducts, the Mornos and the Yliki aqueducts, as well as interconnecting aqueducts, were built to transport untreated water from the reservoirs to Attica, through which the two main aqueducts communicate with each other. Through the Mornos and Yliki aqueducts, untreated water is transported to the four Water Treatment Plants in Galatsi, Polydendri, Acharnes and Aspropyrgos.



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