From: Reuters
Published January 24, 2008 10:22 AM

Italian aqueduct loses more water than it delivers

MILAN (Reuters) - The ancient Romans may have mastered the art of building impressive aqueducts to deliver water across their empire, but modern day Italian engineers seem to be struggling with water retention, a study shows.

The aqueduct serving Puglia, the important agricultural region that forms the heel of the Italian boot-shaped peninsula, is riddled with so many holes that it leaks more water than it delivers, according to a study by Italian investment bank Mediobanca released on Thursday.

The 102-years-old Acquedotto Pugliese, Europe's largest with about 16,000 kms (10,000 miles) of conduits, loses 50.3 percent of the water it carries.

Overall Italy wastes 14 percent more water than France, 36 percent more than Spain, 56 percent more than Britain and 311 percent more than Germany, the study said.

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The Puglia aqueduct is so important because the region produces wine, olives and a vast array of vegetables, nuts and grains, but average rainfalls can be a third less than those in northern Italy.

In contrast to the Acquedotto Pugliese is the aqueduct serving the northern Italian city of Milan. It was rated the most efficient in the country, losing only 10.3 percent of its contents en route, Mediobanca said.

The conduits serving Rome lose 35.4 percent of their water.

(Reporting by Giancarlo Navach and Mathias Wildt, Editing by Matthew Jones)

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