Back to the Future? History and Contemporary Application of Sustainable Drainage Techniques

Susanne M. Charlesworth, Luis Angel Sañudo Fontaneda, Larry Mays

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter considers the 'sustainable' part of drainage systems and explores whether the sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) is simply a case of history repeating itself, and whether techniques used in the past have any relevance today. The chapter focuses on ancient Rainwater harvesting (RwH) techniques, which play a decisive role in providing water resources for ancient civilisations across the world with its importance captured in manuscripts, hieroglyphs and religious texts through the millennia. The classic RwH system found in common in several ancient civilisations, such as the Minoans, Greeks and Romans, consisted of a combination of several techniques. According to Antoniou, the semi-arid climate of the eastern Mediterranean and ancient Greece led to the reuse of water to flush toilets. This was carried out simply using a bucket, with, for example, greywater from kitchens or baths, and this was the case for the Minoan toilets on Amorgos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSustainable Surface Water Management
Subtitle of host publicationA Handbook for SUDS
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781118897690
ISBN (Print)9781118897706
StatePublished - Sep 30 2016


  • Ancient rainwater harvesting techniques
  • Greywater recycling
  • Sustainable drainage systems
  • Sustainable water management
  • Water demand reduction
  • Water velocity reduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Back to the Future? History and Contemporary Application of Sustainable Drainage Techniques'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this