One City with Two Water: Drinking Water in Beijing, 1644-1900

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Beijing was notorious for its salty water, which was mainly procured from wells. This paper explores the sophisticated water supply in Beijing’s daily life and clarifies two different water carrier systems: the state carriers in the Inner City and the private carriers in Outer City respectively, and argues that the dual water carrier systems in Beijing not only grew out of the environmental arrangement, but was also constructed as a spatial and social dichotomy of the city. To some extent, the scarcity and security of drinking water was employed by the Qing state as a means of social integration in the Inner City but of segregation in the Outer City.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-494
JournalJournal of Water History
Issue number4
Early online date7 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Drinking water
  • Environmental history
  • Qing dynasty
  • Beijing


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