Institutional Repository
Technical University of Crete
EN  |  EL



My Space

Sustainable and regenerative development of water mills as an example of agricultural technologies for small farms

Valipour Mohammad, Dietrich Jörg, Voudouris Konstantinos, Kumar Rohitashw, Salgot Miquel, Mahmoudian Seyed A., Rontogianni Anatoli, Angelakis, Andreas N, Tsoutsos Theocharis

Full record

Year 2022
Type of Item Review
Bibliographic Citation A. N. Angelakis, M. Valipour, J. Dietrich, K. Voudouris, R. Kumar, M. Salgot, S. A. Mahmoudian, A. Rontogianni, and T. Tsoutsos, “Sustainable and regenerative development of water mills as an example of agricultural technologies for small farms,” Water, vol. 14, no. 10, May 2022, doi: 10.3390/w14101621.
Appears in Collections


Nowadays, the reuse of built agricultural/industrial heritage has been a common practice worldwide. These structures represent excellent symbols of the great agricultural/industrial past. These agricultural/hydro-technologies also serve as monuments of socio-cultural identities, especially in rural areas and on small farms. One example of a successful application of agricultural technologies for small farms is the water mill. By harnessing the water energy, they were used for traditional flour and other goods production (e.g., olive oil) and works requiring energy, with the main role in the evolution of the traditional/cultural landscape. Water mills have been used to drive a mechanical process of milling, hammering, and rolling and are a portion of the agricultural, cultural, and industrial heritage. For approximately two millennia, the vertical mill water wheel prepared the initial source of mechanical power in many regions of the world. Water mills were the first device that converted natural resources of energy into mechanical energy in order to operate some form of machinery. The preservation/management of water mills is challenging due to their long-term abandonment and the lack of information/knowledge about their value. The other obstacles that are faced in their retrofitting and/or preservation are the lack of sufficient economic incentives and complex authorizations/legislations. Sustainability and regeneration of water mills through the centuries are then reviewed for history and agricultural/industrial “archaeology”. The history of water-powered mills in prehistoric and historic times, including ancient Persia/Iran, ancient China, ancient India, the Islamic world, Venetian Crete, medieval Europe, America, and finally present times, is discussed. The outcome of this review allows the understanding of the importance of conservation, optimization, and development of water mills. It will help to know more and achieve sustainable/regenerative development for small farms with respect to water and energy crises at present and in the future.

Available Files