The modern infrastructure to supply water and to remove and treat waste was retro-fitted to towns and cities across the world, pulling them back from a sanitary crisis which was threatening to make life intolerable. Faced with industrialisation, miserable living conditions and repeated epidemics, water supply systems and drainage networks were devised and incorporated into urban landscapes. The impressive quality of their engineering and architectural design shows how important they were for the societies of the time, and many continue to make a vital contribution to living conditions today.
Presentations by international experts will examine how this historic infrastructure should be valued, and consider what is most significant about the heritage of the water industry. The conference is the concluding part of a thematic comparative study undertaken by TICCIH for ICOMOS to define the criteria which could be used to assess the heritage of the water industry and to identify its outstanding sites - dams, reservoirs and water towers, aqueducts, waterworks and pumping stations, filter and treatment works, and the networks of pipes and mains which connect them all together - including those which might be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The TICCIH thematic conference on the heritage of the water industry will put the water industry infrastructure into its historic technological and social context, examine the origins of the technical solutions that were developed, and compare how they were applied in different industrial cities around the world.