From the earliest times, Greek societies prepared legislation to solve disputes, define access to the water resources, and regulate waste- and storm-water disposal. On the one hand, evidence suggests that in Greek antiquity (750–30 bc), scientific progress was an important agent in the development of water management in some cities including institutional and regulatory issues. In most cities, it seems not to have been a prerequisite in relation to basic agricultural or household requirements. Previous studies suggest that judicial insight rather than practical knowledge of water management became a vital part of how socio-political and religious organizations dealing with water management functioned. The evidence indicates an interest in institutional matters, but in some instances also in the day-to-day handling of water issues. Thus, the aim of this review is to follow the development of water law and institutions and their technical solutions in the Greek states during the Archaic through the Roman periods. In addition, it demonstrates that the need for water management regulations is not a modern creation, but there is a long tradition of solving complex issues of water supply and use with rather sophisticated legal measures.

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