Recent research has found that the Romans, pound for pound or liter for liter, may have been the greatest water-wasters in history. How would you like to chisel a fluid channel through 100 kilometers of stone with hand tools? Well, the Romans did it, according to Mathias Doring, a professor of hydromechanics in Darmstadt, Germany.
The local citizens in Jordan call the works Qanat Far'aun,(Pharaoh's Canal) even though the works date to the Roman period and encompass the removal of 600,000 cubic meters of stone, or 1/4 the volume of Khufu's pyramid - most likely by idle legionaries. The piece further notes that water mains in the parched cities of the Near East and Africa had PSI (pounds per square inch) measures up to an eye-popping 217, which is phenomenal. By comparison, tires typically are inflated to between 30 and 40 PSI. (There was once an ex-hippie, dead-head wood shop instructor fond of saying "Don't go over 40 PSI or you'll pop out your eye" just to shock the bored slackers in his class.)
Read the full article at Spiegel Online.