Before the birth of modern infrastructures, towns in Europe kept experiencing difficulties in providing fresh water and a healthy environment for their inhabitants. Freshwater played a key role in local economies, as apart from having been the source of drinking water, was the main channel of waste(water) disposal, source of energy for many industries as well as of food. The paper addresses the pressure the diverse utilization of freshwater put on streams by looking at some towns – Sopron, Zagreb, Miskolc, and Kőszeg – and their waterways in pre-modern Hungary (and Croatia). In doing so the focus will be on the topographic aspects, that is the spatial arrangement of the different industries and other utilizers. I will argue, that visualizing the spatial distribution of water users in towns, may shed light on legal arrangements for using water.
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