Gdansk had waterworks already at the end of the 14th c. The rapid development of the city induced the municipal authorities to modernize its water supply system. The construction of the new waterworks began in 1536 and was completed in 1573-1576. The central element of the system was a water tower located opposite the Upper Gate (Brama Wyzynna), thanks to which water could be pumped from to the city system Lake Jasien through underground wooden pipes. The water supply system was financed by the city. The municipal authorities issued very precise regulations concerning the conditions of connecting particular houses to the water pipe, as well as the rules of using the supply in burgher houses. The municipal budget paid for the waterworks in the Main Town; in the other parts of the city the system was financed by the inhabitants interested in access to running water. The waterworks system was best developed in the Main Town; almost two thirds of the concessions issued in the 17-18th c. concerned that part of the city. In 1625 20%, and in 1716 about 30% of houses in that quarter were supplied with running water. The connection to the system had to be paid for. Users were charged a lump sum, which fluctuated from 30 florins in the mid 16th c. to 300 florins in the second half of the 18th c. Over 200 years the real value of the water supply charge increased fivefold. The cost was not very high for the well-off Gdansk merchants and patriciate, but it discouraged less affluent burghers from taking advantage of this prestigious privilege, thus giving the rich an opportunity to manifest their superiority.
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