How Were the Roman Aqueducts Built?

Paid laborers, slaves and the Roman Legion built the Roman aqueducts. The materials they used were lead pipes, cement, volcanic concrete and stone. The Roman builders constructed the aqueducts utilizing gravity to keep the flow of the water moving to the appropriate places and stored it in cisterns.

Most people recognize the above-ground Roman aqueducts because of their arched columns. The arches and the materials used to build them ensured that the water would flow in the right direction regardless of the terrain. The Romans also built an underground waterway system using large inverted siphons made of clay, lead pipes and stone blocks. The Romans engineered a pressure system to regulate water flow using stopcocks and created mesh filters and aeration systems to keep water fresh, circulated and clean.

The Curator Aquarum oversaw the building and maintenance of the aqueducts. This assigned person managed the Roman aqueducts while other curators maintained the aqueducts that ran throughout other provinces. The Roman Legion was responsible for building its own aqueducts and roads as it expanded the reach of the empire. In the cities, fountains, baths and private buildings used water collected in cisterns. Many Roman people paid a fee to use the water.