Kashyapa A. S. Yapa

Below, you will find, some of the ways, our ancestors used to store large quantities of water.  I would appreciate very much, if you would collaborate, by informing us about various other techniques that you know of.  At a later stage, I will analyze the problems and benefits of modern reservoirs as well. 


masonry reservoirs - mesaverde/ wari/ cerroamaru

earthen reservoirs - ascope/ purron

excavated reservoirs - pucara/ chan chan

modified natural reservoirs - tapada/ moctezuma

Masonry reservoirs:

Spring/canal-fed, Mummy Lake, in Mesa Verde, CO, USA, adjacent to a well developed Pueblo settlement.  
One of the four reservoirs, built by Huari/Huarpa communities, at Tahuacocha, near Ayacucho, Peru.  They collected rain water and also, spring water, canalized from higher altitudes.
A naturally low, 'saddle' point between two mountains was encircled with stone masonry and earth fill.
Currently, cactus is grown, in and around the reservoirs, since ancient canals have dried out. 

The top of the Cerro Amaru ridge, near Huamachuco, La Libertad, Peru, was transformed into a huge stone masonry and earth fill platform.  Three 'bottlenecked' stone masonry wells, collect and store the rain that falls on the platform.
Earthen reservoirs:
The 1400m long Ascope aqueduct, in La Libertad, Peru, formed the huge 'Alto Pichona' lake.  Currently, water accumulates at its far right edge.
A closer view of the lake 'Alto Pichona.'  The earthen aqueduct is 15m high at the deepest point.
Above: X-section of Purron dam, in Tehuacan valley, Mexico.
Right: Internal masonry walls that facilitated compacting earthfill.
Below: X-section of the dam, showing internal walls, and the longitudinal profile . (from: Woodbury & Neely, 1972)

Excavated reservoirs:
Left: Aerial view of a part of the plateau between Azangaro and Ayaviri rivers, Puno, Peru, where some 25,000 ponds (qochas -seen as dark holes in the aerial photograph) were excavated.
Below1: A large qocha with water. Depth is about 2 to 6 meters.
Below2: Same qocha, a far view.  Qocha diameter, 90 to 150m.
This excavated pond, within the city limits of ancient Chan Chan, near Trujillo, Peru, was fed by groundwater, and, probably, by canals too. 
Modified natural reservoirs:
A naturally formed lake, La Tapada, possibly modified or augmented by prehispanic populations (near Balsas, Peninsula de Santa Elena, Ecuador)

This volcanic crater lake, Moctezuma Well, near Phoenix, AZ, USA, has long been used as a source of irrigation water.

If you would like to begin a discussion, please, write to me

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