An english company's role in the 19th century water supply to Cartagena

  1. Francisco Javier Pérez de la Cruz 1
  2. Josefina Garcia-León 1
  3. Carolina Díaz-García
  4. Arturo Trapote
  1. 1 Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena

    Cartagena, España


3rd Construction History Society National Conference: Cambridge, 2016

Year of publication: 2016

Type: Conference paper


Until the water of river Taibilla arrived in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain) in 1945, the city did not solve one of its big problems throughout its wide history: the guarantee of water supply in an adequate amount and quality. Since the end of the 19th century, a series of private companies searched in some areas near the city for sources of water in order to overcome the shortage of resources. Among all of them, we can highlight “The Carthagena Water & Mining Co. Ltd.” which was founded in 1886 in Manchester. It performed important works of water intake and transportation from different locations in the Western area of Cartagena. The “English Company”, as it was known by the inhabitants of Cartagena, made the most of the water resources of the area diverting the occasional flows that ran through watercourses, taking advantage of the natural runoff of the land and capturing different springs near the city. The infrastructure was formed by channels, pipes, siphons, aqueducts and even storage tanks and filters for the treatment of the water that had been got. They even reached a level of supply capacity of near 1,000 m3 per day. There is not much information left about this infrastructure (the original project is not preserved). For that reason, the work is focused on the search for information in the land; having as a final goal to make possible the identification of the infrastructure to show the different and original solutions raised when making the most of such a short resource as it is the water in a hydraulic infrastructure of the 19th century located in a semiarid area, with all the difficulties that go with this situation.