Amunas Water System

Amunas system on the Andes.

An ancient water system in the Andes that delays groundwater from reaching rivers until the dry season by sowing runoff into the ground and filtering it down the hill slopes.

Wanning Liang

The Chillón-Rímac-Lurín basin is located in the province of Lima, and its primary water system is comprised of the Chillón, Rímac, and Lurín rivers, as well as their tributaries, creeks, and lagoons, among others. The Amunas system can be regarded as an additional recharge system. Chillón-Rímac and Lurín are the principal aquifers that hold groundwater in the region. In contrast to Lurín, the Chillón and Rímac aquifers are interconnected and trade their groundwater. The three aquifers cover roughly 866.46 km2 or 10% of the entire land area.

Chillón-Rímac-Lurín basin in Lima province scale; Hydrographic units and main waters in Chillón-Rímac-Lurín basin.

The development of the Amunas, the water-bearing rocks constituting the underground structure of the Amunas, where water gradually moves through cracks in the sediments and rocks until it reaches the springs beneath the slopes. Water is kept in the soil and flows considerably more slowly below the surface than it would overland. During the dry season, springs are sustained by water that would have otherwise been lost by flooding.
11 of the original Amunas canals are still in operation, supplying 65 active springs and 14 tiny ponds with water.

Comparison with and without the Amunas system; Recharge systems in basins.

In the Peruvian Andes, where water shortage is severe and there are water-bearing rocks for underground storage, the Amunas artificial recharge system would be beneficial. Sand and gravel soils are nearly nonexistent in the Andes; the majority of the area is covered by rocks. These include claystone, which generates the thin and fragile arable soils that sustain agricultural activity in the Andes, and granular rock, which forms the water-supplying rocky hills of the highlands. Thus, it may be stated that dense rocks with low porosity and open fissures allow for the storage and release of water as springs. In the majority of basins, this is the only permanent source of water, hence its significance.

Water recharge of soil, subsoil and aquifers, through human interventions aimed at retaining, infiltrating, storing and regulating runoff water from rainfall.

Circular Stories

The existence of the community is essential for the Amunas to function, as it is a crucial factor in the physical and organizational aspects of planting, harvesting, conducting, and infiltrating rainwater into the mountain in order to ‘humanely’ recharge the aquifers.
In the district of San Pedro de Casta, where the Amunas are protected, where there are no snow-capped mountains, and where everything depends on precipitation, the inhabitants continue to practice this traditional method of water collection and agriculture. According to the statements of the settlers, the Amunas preserve the water in the springs and streams during the dry or water-scarce seasons for domestic and agricultural use, as well as for public services; as a result, they organize annually, with a sense of reverence and ritual, a large community celebration of gratitude and dedication.

Water system and circularity.
Restoration of Amunas by local residents.

Hiti Pranali

A traditional water supply system in
Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Maozhu Zhang

Quick city expansion seriously damaged the water structures of Hiti Pranali in Patan. The Tikabhairav Rajkulo used to be 11.2 km from Tika Bhairab to the city centre cannot be seen on the map of Kathmandu Valley in 1970. Today, with state support, it barely reaches Thecho, 5.6 kilometres away after restoration. As a result, the canal no longer supplies water to the pond today. Many ponds have been filled in to build buildings, which makes it more difficult for aquifers to receive freshwater recharge. Hitis experienced a similar fate. Since the spouts obtain water from shallow aquifers, structures and buildings near the spouts affect the spout supply lines. Due to the damage to the water structures by the urban expansion. Now, many Hiti Pranali in Patan city do not function anymore.

Different types of water structures are developed to solve a particular purpose in the network, together they form a complementary structural water supply system that enables the storage, distribution and management of water. The following list mentions the types and their names in the Newari language: Canal (Rajkulo), Ponds (Pukhu/Pokhari), Stone Spouts (Hitis), and Dug wells (Inara). The canal is used to divert river water from the valley to the city’s pond. Ponds are used to recharging the shallow aquifer. Stone Spouts and Dug well are used to extract water from the shallow aquifers.

Canal (top left); Pimbahal Pond (top right); Nepalis drinking water extracted from wells, Patan, Nepal. (bottom left); Lu Hiti (bottom right).

Circular Stories

Ancient patan people built the Hiti pranali based on thier living context. This water system receives groundwater recharge from the mountain rivers and provides the city with a continuous supply of clean water throughout the year. Although the quick city expansion seriously damaged this old water system, but the hitis, which is still in operation, still plays an important role in supplying water to nearby communities. And, in response to the current water crisis, this ancient water system can not only be useful but can provide insight into the search for strategies. This system depicts three values based on their significance from the past to the future.

Circularity drawing.

The Industrial Zaanstreek

The industrial landscape and trading
water network of Zaanstreek.

Ken Chen

The research area is Noord Holland province, specifically the Water Authority of Hollands Nooderkwartier. The old reclamation history creates the catchment area divided by the boezem systems. The west area is connected as a whole; the east part is independent of the Schermeer boezem due to the direct water discharge from polders into outer water. Zaanstreek is situated at the south end of the whole system and well connected to Amsterdam.

The transformation of landscape in Zaanstreek area; Water system in North Holland before 14 century.

The transformation of the North Holland area is drastic. Due to the peat bog reclamation and excavation, the land has been drained for centuries which caused significant subsidence. The ribbon village, the Peat River town, and the polder water system formulate the basic character of the area. Furthermore, because of the subsidence and the re-wetting of the land, it was unsuitable for growing crops. Thus, the locals started to find another job for a living: fishing. After generations, they became merchants and businessmen. During this time, many cities emerged alongside the dikes.

Zaanstad in current situation.
Bird-eye view and the landscape typology of Zaanstreek.

Circular Stories

The emergence of the industrial landscape in the Zaanstreek area is a multi-causes history. The relationship between Amsterdam and Zaandam is special, they were competitors but also collaborators. The cheap cost of materials, transport and human power was the attracting forces for the merchants. According to the research, during the boom time, nearly 120 ships are built every year, and the price of each ship is about 28,500 gulden. It can be known that the cash flow involved in the shipbuilding industry is about 3.4 million Dutch guilders, that is, equal to 7,000 people’s salaries (about 1 guld per person earned) And related industries must benefit from the shipbuilding industry. After the shipbuilder made money, they turned to invest in the configuration of equipment and sites. The shipyard on Voorzaan’s homeland was the result of a joint investment by shipbuilders. Finally, the shipbuilding industry mainly situated in the Voorzaan.

Circularity of wood/ship industry: the system of the wood related industry on the landscape.

Consecutive Dams and Mills System in Spain

Charterhouse of El Paular

Water Late Medieval Systems including
mills, fish farms and dams in El Paular charterhouse,

Javier Sanchez Jimenez

The Valley of Rascafria is a narrow dale which opens to towards the North, located in the Sierra de Guadarrama, the north-western border of the Madrid region in Spain. The valley has a minimum altutude of 1125 above sea level and it is surrounded by mountains over 2000 meters high.

The monastery lands are situated within the upper Lozoya catchment area. This basin is a valley encircled by steep mountains that encircle a flatter plateau. one could suppose that this plain would be a fitting place for agriculture; however, the soil is too rocky for that. Regarding the quality of the water, it is exceptionally good since it comes from either rainfall or melted snow that runs down through a hard soil, which prevents it from contaminating with sediments.

Outdoor of an “Arca” (cleaning through decantation). This example belongs to a similar water system in El Escorial (Top left); Interior of an “Arca” (cleaning through decantation). This example belongs to a similar water system in El Escorial (Top middle); Water pavilion with fountain (Top centre); The former fish farms, now converted into a popular recreation area (Bottom left); The stone dams of the former fish farm (Bottom right).

The water system was heavily modified, by the construction of consecutive dams. However, it is very significant to note that the ones that interrupted the river – the fish farms- were relatively short, not more than a meter and a half high. The only exception is the modern hydroelectric plant’s dam The higher ones, corresponding to the mills, are separated from the main river course, from which the water is diverted to them through canals. In consonance with modern times, new recreational facilities have been introduced, such as the lake of the Finnish forest or the reuse of the old fish farms as swimming pools.

Diagram of the system, with all the existing ponds and dams still existing and their past uses. (Left); Plan of the water system, also reflecting its interdependence with the vegetation. (Right)

Circular Stories

The existing watersystem is the origin of all the economical activities in the area and deeply intertwined with the kind of society that was able to settle and thrive here: one that did not depend on crops and had an easy access to grain- a log-lasting produce that could be grinded into flour to make bread and within an easy reach in the Castillian Moors, just at the other side of the mountains. This implied a certain level of initial wealth that enabled them to buy or build the high tech equioement needed in the watermills to produce the expensive elaborate products in which the monastery based their wealth.

Diagramatic section showing the interdependence betwen the vegetation and the water system.
Circularity of the system / Representation of sustainability.

Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Linpan

Dujiangyan upstream water system.

A large-scale water project built in ancient China and used up to now. It can be divided into two systems: the irrigation head and the irrigation water network.

Zhiyun Zhang

Dujiangyan system is a large-scale water conservancy project built in ancient China and sed up to now. It is located in the west of Dujiangyan City, Sichuan Province, 340 kilometres upstream of the Minjiang River. According to legend, Dujiangyan was built from about 256 BC to 251 BC. After successive renovations, it has played a huge role for more than two thousand years. Without destroying natural resources and by making full use of natural resources to serve human beings, the project turned harm into benefit and made a high degree of harmony among people, land and water, which is also a great “ecological project” in the world.

Seasonal rainfall makes the lower-reach places very dependent on the upstream Minjiang River water source. As a unique agricultural and rural landscape, Dujiangyan Project had a profound influence on the production and life of downstream residents, as well as the shaping of the Chengdu Plain in terms of spatial form. This downstream map shows the pattern and textures of the plain, which also explain the inner relationship between the water system, function, spatial form, etc.

Linpan pattern.

If we zoom in a little bit, the basic pattern of this plain will become more clear, which is consist of lines and blocks. The line is the waterway and the block is the Linpan settlement. It looks just like the blood structure of the human body, oxygen is transported to every cell structure through arteries, veins, and capillaries.

During the origin period, the embryonic form of the water system in the Chengdu Plain is emerging, however, the main rivers are in a disorderly radial pattern and changed frequently. The tributaries didn’t form fixed and stable waterways, bringing several floods and droughts.

Since 260 BC, the construction of the Dujiangyan Water Conservancy Project completely changed the water control environment in the Chengdu Plain, significantly reducing flood frequency and severity, and improving agricultural irrigation efficiency. The water system in the Chengdu Plain mainly expands to the east, and the channels gradually became fixed and clear with the maintenance of residents. The overall shape of water systems gradually becomes a dendritic water network. The opening up of inner and outer rivers provided sufficient water resources for the construction and economic development of Chengdu City. With obvious transportation advantages, there was a rapid development of Chengdu’s urban economy and a dramatic change in town form and layout. According to the maps, the number and range of cities and towns increased significantly over time, while flooding, conversely, decreased with the gradual development of water systems.

Development of water systems and towns of Chengdu Plain from 5000BC to now.

The human activities in the upper and lower reaches of Dujiangyan present different features because of having different main functions. At the head of the Dujiangyan Project, surrounded by green mountains and green waters, the superior ecological environment and historical sites make it a leisure and tourist attraction in addition to undertaking the function of water conservancy regulation.

Fish fry and rice are symbiotic, and they can be caught and marketed before the rice is harvested.

Circular Stories

Linpans on the western Sichuan Plain consisting of the Dujiangyan irrigation system, agricultural production, and family-based lifestyle, is a spatial form that perfectly combines cultural symbols and usage values. It is a sustainable system that integrates the living, production and ecological environment of the Chengdu Plain. The ecological farming pattern is in harmony with the farming conditions, traditional farming methods and living needs of the western Sichuan Plain. The entire West Sichuan Plain irrigated by the Dujiangyan Project is a semi-artificial and semi-natural wetland ecosystem, providing habitat for birds and food base and living space for humans, while the symbiosis of human and forest in the Linpan continues to this day. These spontaneous ecological ways of living are worthy of human inheritance and development. Within the Linpan system, people, fields, water and forests are interdependent. For example, people use the wood of forests to make fires and build houses. The forest serves as a barrier and a place for people to rest. Human and livestock manure will in turn fertilize the forest. In this way, Linpan forms a whole circular system of energy, and material, (maybe emotion). People can live self-sufficiently in Linpan.

Linpan’s self-sufficient circulatory framework and circulatory system.

Street Communal Fountains in Cyprus

Remains of the old fountain in Choullou village, Paphos.

Transporting water from a non-local spring to the village households through street taps.

Xenia Georgiadou

After the 40s, people in the villages used to be supplied with drinking water through public fountains, which were located in the main square of the village. The source of this system were either spring, chain-of-well or a borehole as well as the source water could be used for domestic or irrigation purposes. One example of spring that still provides with drikning water the households of a village is the Teratsia spring in Paphos forest.

The housewives are discussing while they collect water.
Traditional clay jars for water storing purposes.

Furthermore, Cypriot artists have been influenced and inspired by the process of supplying water in the household through the public taps and they wrote poems and songs talking about this. Additionally, a traditional dance had been generated about the water supply from the fountain to the household, where the women used to wear their traditional costumes. For instance, a traditional song, which is written in the Cypriot dialect is presented below:

Στείλε με μάνα μάνα στο νερό
Send me, mother, oh mother to (bring some) water
να σου το φέρω δροσερό
to bring you fresh water
τζι’ αν δε στο φέρω φέρω καθαρό
And if I will not bring, bring you clean water
την νιότη μου να μεν χαρώ.
may I not enjoy my youth.
Στη βρύση μάνα μάνα μου έφτασα
After I got, mother, oh mother to the fountain
τζαι το σταμνί μου γέμωσα
and after I filled up my jug
τζι άξαφνα παραπάτησα
Suddenly I misstepped
τζαι το σταμνί μου τσάκισα.
and I broke my jug.

Circular Stories

Diagram of communal fountains system.

The diagram illustrates how the water system with the street fountains for drinking water supply used to work. Particularly, the Paphos forest is represented by mountains, where the infiltration happens due to the rainfall and small streams are created, which end up in the sea.

The streams are gathered to the foot of the mountain where a spring is generated called “Teratsia”. People have created the spring box, where the water passes through the limestone for purification purposes, which allows the water to be drinkable. Moving on, the water flows to the spring box, where is stored and then, through underground pipes ends up in the concrete-built elevated reservoirs. which is elevated for more pressure. Each village had its own elevated reservoirs. Then, the water flows through underground pipes to the street fountains, where the women used to collect it. The communal fountains were located in central points in the village, in order to be accessible by the locals. Housewives used to bring the water to their house, in clay traditional jugs and they usually store it in big clay jars.

Section of the water system.

In addition, during this period, agriculture had been developed. Livadis, a permanent river was not seasonal then, and it ensured the water supply for local agriculture aspect. Specifically, the agriculture were located on the two sides of the river. Therefore, a surface irrigation system, especially open channels were used to transfer the water from the river to the trees.

Water Harvesting System in Matera

View of Sassi di Matera and Gravina di Matera.

Traditional water harvesting system in Sassi di Matera, Italy

Wenting Gao

The two districts of Matera, Sasso Caveoso and Sasso Barisano, were built in the eroded terraced land near the natural water courses, called Grabiglioni, and formed by buildings and rock architectures carved into the rock of the Murgia Matera. Together with the Civita district (built on the spur that separates the two Sassi), they constitute the historic centre of the city of Matera. The water-harvesting system was composed of cisterns, catch basins, ponds, wells, fountains, condensers, neviera, as well as horizontal and vertical water channels. About 2210 cisterns were identified using a statistical approach, including 2039 small bell-shaped cisterns, 170 neighbourhood cisterns and two large cisterns of 1,300 and
5,000 m³ each. Water not only shaped the physical part of the city, but also influenced the way people live and work. The successful water-harvesting system created an an agro-pastoral society where most people were engaged in agriculture and husbandry, and about 56% were still land working peasants in 1754.

Traditional water system plan of Sassi di Matera in 1700s.

The grabiglioni, an important water channel in Sassi di Matera, is also the centre of public life. The vicinato, a common courtyard where children would play together and everyone helped each other out, is always accompanied by a cistern serving 4-6 families, so it naturally becomes the place for different domestic chores and social interactions.

People gathered in ‘‘vicinato’’ for social intercourse and domestic chores (Bottom right).

Circular Stories

Cicular diagram of the traditional water harvesting system in Sassi
di Matera around 1700s; Circular diagrams of water usage (Bottom left).

There are three types of water sources in Sassi, rainwater, natural springs, and moisture. In a natural condition, they will directly go into the Gravina di Matera, but with the help of the circular water system, they are used in a sustainable way for production, domestic use and drinking purposes.

Public rainwater cycle (Left); Private rain water cycle (Top right); Moist cycle (Bottom left); Spring water cycle (Bottom right).

Firstly, the rainwater, which is also the dominant source in Sassi, is collected in lakes, ponds or catch basins at first, then goes into cisterns of different sizes with the help of horizontal and vertical water channels on roofs, stairs, wall and ground. Some cisterns are interconnected by underground pipes, while others are quite private and isolated. There is a water tank that is completely isolated, and it is used as the condenser to collect moisture, which is also a hidden water source in Sassi. In addition, a natural spring near Tramontano Castle is the only drinkable water source, which later led to the Fountain Ferdinandea for people to use.

Harnam Water Meadows

Water Meadows during irrigation.

A pasture productive system in traditional English agriculture.

Farnoosh Bazrafkan

The Harnham Water Meadows are located inland in the South-Western part of England. The water catchment area of
Harnham being a part of the county of Wiltshire. The rivers of this area are largely spring-fed and provide a stable flow
throughout the year. Along the floodplains of these rivers a series of (abondoned) water meadows can be found.
Water meadows are part of a well known irrigation system in England. The chalk valley landscapes of Wessex are an important county for water meadows because of the topsoil texture and slightly alkaline water they provide, elements that are needed for grass sward development.

The Harnham Water Meadows, as a remnant of the 17th-century farming revolution, form an important part of the historical English landscape. These floodplain meadows are altered in such a way as to control the flow of water in order to improve agricultural activities. Due to their common occurrence, water meadows are often regarded as semi-natural features in the landscape while in reality they are notably artificially constructed.

The water system plan including mills, hatches and aqueducts.

In more detail, in figure 17 it becomes evident that the two mills at Salisbury and Harnham are integrated into the water system and provide a raised water level upstream through impoundment. Then, the main carriages, controlled by
so-called hatches or sluice gates, allow the flow of water into the meadows. Eventually, river water would run along the tops of the constructed ridges so that water trickles through the grass at a depth of 25mm. The passage of water would return back into the river system via drains that lead to a tail drain back into the river Avon.

Circular Stories

Initially, water meadows were part of the English agricultural “Sheep-Corn System”. The meadows provided grass while the sheep grazing this grass provided fertilization, leading to better crops on surrounding arable fields. Within this agricultural system, “floated” watermeadows were used for irrigation in the winter or early in spring, bringing nutrients and oxygen into the soil. Typically, this caused the grass to start growing about one month earlier than un-floated floodplain meadows. Later in the season, during the summer when the soil was drying out, water meadows were re-watered so that (typically) two cuts of hay were taken and used to feed other animals – cattle and horses. The drowning of the meadows took place in a cyclical management system. Meadows were usually drowned
for a few days followed by drained for a few days (3-7 days). In mid-March when grass would reach a height of 150mm, sheep would graze the fields of the meadows. Towards the end of May, the sheep would be removed again, allowing the grass to produce hay crops. From June until the end of September dairy cattle grazed, causing problems for the meadow surface and water banks. The latter leads to bedwork maintenance during the end of the fall.

Angkor Hydraulic City

The world’s most extensive medieval sacred water management network of the ancient Kmer Empire.

Krit Thienvutichai

Angkor Wat is one of the most important archaelogical sites in Southeast Asia. WIth impressive monuments, several different ancient urban plans and large water reservoirs, the site is a unique concentration of features testifying to an exceptional civilization (UNESCO).

Water management zones classified by topographic condition.

The hydraulic city was classified into three principle zones, with their topographic conditions of hydrogeology and elevation, functioned as one large system to supply the whole region. In the collector zone, the water was taken from natural rivers. In the aggregator and collector zones, water was stored mainly in the earthen embankments of barays, temple moats and small reservoirs.

The temple island of Naek Pean used to function as a hospital. The central pond symbolizes a mythical lake in the Himalayas whose water is thought to cure all illness. The water overflows from the central pond through chapels to fill up four small ponds with healing water. The ancient Khmers may have believed that bathing in its successive ponds would have restore balance within the body and cured illness or at least washed away sin.

The Naek Pean water management structure.

The New Dutch Waterline

Fort Voordrop on the New Dutch Waterline.

Water as a defence line comprised of a system of waterworks for inundating and military elements for troops.

Huadong Zhu

The New Dutch Waterline was built to defend Holland, the west part of the Netherlands and it is 85 km long. Large areas of agricultural land (polders) were flooded with a layer of approximately 40-60 cm of water- The traditional drainage system of the polder landscape was transformed into a 4 km wide defence line.

The New Dutch Waterline at regional scale.

Pumps and sluices guide the water out of the deep lying polders, in war-time the water could be directed into the polder. In a normal situation the water table is higher during winter. During a dry summer, water needs to be taken in from the boezem system. The boezem system is the discharge water network which brings the polder water from into the outer water. The whole water system can be set in motion by switching the pumping stations on and off or changing the direction of the water flow.

Normally the land is drained for agricultural use. After peat digging, used as fuel the land turned into a lake a became useless. By draining the inner lakes, new, deeper lake-bed polders were created. During the war period, the polders were transformed into lakes again and could not be crossed by enemies on foot or by horse.

Delving peat.

During normal times, the water is pumped out into the river, part of the boezem system. During war times, the waterworks can switch the direction and pump the water into the polder. Today they pump water into the polders during dry summers.

The existing water management in a polder is based on an independent managed water level. The system consisted of mills, later replaced by pumping stations and the sluices. The polders have different water levels. During the war the area was flooded polder by polder.

Top to bottom. Flood phase 1; Flood phase 2; Flood phase 3.

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