History of Water Supply: What We Learned from Early Water Management Systems

Innovative water management practices have sprung up all over the world in different forms, influenced by local hydrological and hydrogeological conditions. Every new settlement, town or city, demands an understanding of how local water sources work, including how to exploit and protect them. And this is no less important today than it was in the past.

Some of the oldest water management inventions are wells for drawing on underground sources, and cisterns and reservoirs for collecting rainwater and snowmelt. But there are other more surprising examples from past civilizations that continue to astound us today.  

History of Water Supply: Introduction

Throughout recorded history, water has played a sacred role in diverse cultures around the world. Springs, rivers, and rain have been worshipped for their role in safeguarding the ties that keep communities together. And just as an abundance of water can bring peace to a warring region, the consequences of water sources drying up and the devastation of drought are infamous destroyers of civilizations.