ince the Middle Ages the problems concerning the supervision of water resources were managed largely by private associations with the occasional support of public bodies. The Modern Age witnesses the rise of public intervention due to the associations' increasing shortcomings in organization and financing.
It was first during the Napoleonic rule and then in the new Italian Kingdom that the issue of regulating public involvement and private protection and control was methodically addressed.
In fact, the reclamation of many Italian marshes, especially in the Po Valley, brought to the foreground the need for the best legal instruments to merge private and public financial resources in consortia.
At the beginning government financing was limited and the rights of private property were thoroughly safeguarded. Afterwards both government and local authorities gradually took over. In this framework, the consortium based on administrative law became much more important than the private law consortium as the most suitable means of guaranteeing the public interest deriving from reclamation.