The first Water Integrity Forum in Delft, the Netherlands (June 2013) defined the core of water integrity as ‘the integrity of people and institutions governing water resources, decision making that is fair and inclusive, honest and transparent, accountable and free of corruption’. . Historic hydraulic structures are man-made water ancestral systems that helped for sedentism and the emergence of cities where the resource is rare or partly available. The scope of the study is to present seven examples of historic hydraulic structures from different geographic contexts, as diverse as South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, as paradigms of indigenous knowledge in water governance. They are traditional gravity-flow water supplying systems whose functioning is based on eco-friendly and sustainable techniques such as the exploitation of surface and runoff water with insuring minimal water losses, community based management by already set rules upon common agreements, the preservation of ecological landscapes and the practice of traditional agriculture. This paper highlights those systems and connects their specifications to economic, social, political and environmental dimensions for good water governance and to water integrity key principles, Transparency, Accountability, Participation and Anti-corruption, in a way to explore their potential to do so.

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