Before the development of aqueduct technology, Romans, like most of their contemporaries in the ancient world, relied on local water sources such as springs and streams, supplemented by groundwater from privately or publicly owned wells, and by seasonal rain-water drained from rooftops into storage jars and cisterns. The reliance of ancient communities upon such water resources restricted their potential growth. Rome's aqueducts were not strictly Roman inventions – their engineers would have been familiar with the water-management technologies of Rome's Etruscan and Greek allies – but they proved conspicuously successful. By the early Imperial era, the city's aqueducts supported a population of over a million, and an extravagant water supply for public amenities had become a fundamental part of Roman life. The run-off of aqueduct water scoured the sewers of cities and towns. Water from aqueducts was also used to supply villas, ornamental urban and suburban gardens, market gardens, farms, and agricultural estates, the latter being the core of Rome's economy and wealth.
The Romans constructed aqueducts throughout their Empire , to bring water from outside sources into cities and towns. Aqueduct water supplied public baths , latrines , fountains, and private households; it also supported mining operations, milling, farms, and gardens.