Around the late 1800s, water flows in the Po River basin powered thousands of mills. This map shows their distribution according to the Carta Idrografica d’Italia, a nationwide survey of water uses conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce between the 1880s and the 1890s. By clicking on each point it is possible to discover the mill’s name and function.
By the end of the nineteenth century, mills started to be outpaced by a new mode of hydropower production: hydroelectricity. After a slow growth in the first decade of the century, hydroelectricity experienced a veritable boom after World War I, which condinued unabashed until the 1970s. This map contains an animated layer of the development of hydroelectric power plants in the Po watershed from the turn of the twentieth century to the early 1970s, based on the date of the governmental concession of exploitation of water for motive power. The static layer, on the other hand, allows to explore the historical features of each power plant from the late 1927 to 1971.
Perhaps the most significant hydrological feature of this development was the construction of dams and reservoirs. This maps shows the distribution and concentration of reservoirs in the Po watershed from the turn of the twentieth century to the early 1970s, based on the inventories of hydroelectric reservoirs compiled by the ANIDEL in the 1950s and partially updated by the ENEL in the late 1970s. As in the above map, one animated layer allows to visualize the temporal unfolding of dam construction. A static layer allows to explore the historical features of each power plant.