According to historians, the Romans had to be satisfied, initially, to use rainwater stored in cisterns2. An exceptional drought, which raged from 123 to 128, dries up the region’s scarce water resources and empties the cisterns; it then shows the absolute necessity to seek, further, the waters which are lacking on the outskirts of the city and to bring them back to Carthage2.

A skillful builder, Emperor Hadrian decided to capture the existing sources in the mountain ranges of Jebel Zaghouan and Jouggar as well as the construction of an immense aqueduct intended to lead the water to the cisterns of La Malga, water reservoirs of 25 000 m3, located on an elevated part of the hill of Carthage. The springs have a very variable flow, ranging from 5,000 m3 per day to more than 25,000 m3 per day.

However, private cisterns are still needed for neighborhoods higher than La Malga. There are four sources collected: Nympheum and Aïn Ayed (in the Zaghouan region) as well as Aïn Djour and Aïn Ziga (in the Jouggar region).

The aqueduct, designed to ensure a daily flow of 32,000 m3, has two branches, one coming from Zaghouan measuring 6.01 kilometers in length, the other, coming from Djouggar measuring 33.63 kilometers, meeting at Moghrane . The total length of the aqueduct to Carthage, including the various branches, is 132 km3. Its gradient is precisely 0.29%. It is cut several times (first by the Vandals then by the Arabs).

Rehabilitated in the tenth century, it was provided with a diversion to Tunis in the thirteenth century. After the Hafsids, its maintenance is neglected.

Additional Details

  • Historic Category:Romanian

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