Pombal was accused in 1780 of appropriating water from the fountain in front of his palace. He defended himself by saying that he only collected the excess. This was common in his various properties and those of his friends!
The Águas Livres Aqueduct is an engineering venture unique for the time when it was built, with 60 kilometers of galleries, it brought drinking water to Lisbon for the first time. The works began before the Marquis of Pombal came to power, but, during his time as prime minister to D. José, he became one of the people who benefited most from the work. The reason being that he altered the initial plan and made new conduits meant to supply his properties and those of his upper bourgeoisie and noble friends.
Water was then a form of power, and if it reached some public fountains, it could also supply palaces. Who says so are researchers Fernando Teigão dos Santos and Pedro Costa, who in the last four years explored many hundreds of meters of the infrastructure of the aqueduct and have now published a book with the result of the subterranean expedition, " The Underground Lisbon of the Marquis of Pombal." (free translation)
They give an example of the deviations that the Marquis of Pombal promoted: "The Gallery of Necessities was built not to supply the people but the Royal Palace of Tapada das Necessidades and from that a deviation was made that crosses the whole district of Lapa and goes to supply the palace of the Marquis himself. This palace is where the National Museum of Ancient Art is today. "
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