Aqueduct of Zaghouan

The aqueduct of Zaghouan, or aqueduct of Carthage, is a Roman aqueduct connecting Carthage with the sources of the region of Zaghouan.

Restored in the nineteenth century, this book is the only one of this importance existing in Tunisia before the introduction of the French protectorate.

On February 17, 2012, the Tunisian government proposes the Roman hydraulic complex of Zaghouan-Carthage which it is part of for a future classification on the list of the world heritage of humanity drawn up by Unesco.

According to historians, the Romans must be satisfied, at first, to use rainwater stored in cisterns. An exceptional drought, which rages from 123 to 128, dried up the meager water resources of the region and emptied the cisterns; it then shows the absolute necessity to look further, the waters that are lacking in the outskirts of the city and bring them back to Carthage. Skilled builder, the emperor Hadrian decides the capture of the existing sources in the mountain ranges of Djebel Zaghouan and Jouggar as well as the construction of a huge aqueduct intended to lead the waters towards the cisterns of La Malga, reservoirs of water 25 000 m3, located on a high part of the hill of Carthage. The sources have a very variable flow, ranging from 5,000 m3 per day to more than 25,000 m3 per day.

Private cisterns, however, remain necessary for neighborhoods higher than La Malga. The sources collected are four in number: Nympheum and Ain Ayed (in the region of Zaghouan) as well as Aïn Djour and Aïn Ziga (in the region of Jouggar). 

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 the Djouggar measuring 33,63 kilometers, meeting in Moghrane. The total length of the aqueduct to Carthage, including the various ramifications, is 132 kilometers. Its gradient is precisely 0.29%. It is cut several times (first by the Vandals and then by the Arabs). 

Restored in the 10th century, it is equipped with a diversion on Tunis in the 13th century. After the Hafsides, his talk is neglected.
In 1859, it did not work for three centuries when the Minister of Sadok Bey, Mustapha Khaznadar, had it restored on the advice of the then French Consul, Léon Roches, and with the assistance of a French engineer, Pierre Collin. The parts of the channel at floor level and in the basement are rehabilitated cast iron pipes replace the parts on arcades by. The catchments are partially returned to service. The works cost 7 800 000 francs.

The repair, which lasts three years, is completed by the construction of the Sidi Abdallah reservoir with a capacity of 3,700 m3 per day. From 1861, the waters of Zaghouan and Jouggar arrive again in Tunis with a flow of 12 000 m3 in winter and 3000 m3 in summer. They thus contribute to improving the ordinary inhabitants reduced to the use of water cisterns.

However, the negligence of the various companies entrusted with the maintenance and the exploitation of the aqueduct obliges the grand vizier Kheireddine Pasha to concede, in 1872, for thirty years, the exploitation of the waters of Tunis to the generals Mohamed Baccouche, Hussein, Rustum and Mohamed. The results are not brilliant either, because of the many cases of abuse, and its exploitation will be gradually abandoned.

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