Image source Opinion: MR, Ed The Demise of the Cantona:Instead of maintaining, modernizing and constructing water resource infrastructure, the Cantona government used tax revenue for unnecessary expansion of nepotistic bureaucracies and extravagant perks for the government employed elite.
650-Year Drought Triggered Ancient City's Abandonment
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With a closed lake basin as shown in the pictures, can pollution and low water be ruled out? Cholera, other water borne diseases and other aspects of pollution generated by human and animal wastes could contaminate the water and lead to an impression of a "cursed" city long before the water ran out.
Dams and pipelines like we have today could protect large cities, but a drought over a long period of time affecting a large area would eventually reduce the populations because of arid land and lack of farming and ranching due to the drought.