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This study compares the water systems of Korean clan villages and Chinese Naxi minority villages from an environmental and spatial perspective, and describes aspects that both water systems share in common as well as their differences. In the course of this study, it has been found out that traditional water systems have the environmental performance to help mitigate negative environmental impact and function as indispensable elements in the spatial organization of both settlement types.This study analyzes both the settlement systems to which the two settlement types belong and the territorial organizations and the circulation systems of the two settlement types. Consequently, it has been found out that the characteristics of the settlement systems and the spatial structures of the two settlement types are partly due to their water systems.In the study, it has been observed that the pond is a key element of the central space in clan villages, while a waterway is the central axis of typical Naxi minority villages. Especially, this study has proven through experimentation that the pond, which is generally found in the front section of Korean clan villages, is highly effective at naturally purifying sewage. Through field surveys, it has been found that Naxi minority villages have unique spatial systems and other physical or social devices, such as a residents' agreement, that help mitigate water pollution in the village's waterways.