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History of Water   

Water is life and human existence is dependent on the availability of water. The history of water and humans dates back to ancient civilization. The problem of water management is an age-old problem. This is because the introduction of sedentary settlements and farming meant that humans had to find a way of accessing clean and drinkable water, for humans, cattle, as well as finding a way of dealing with the wastewater produced.  

Thus, the history of water and human health traces its roots to ancient civilizations. This is because without the establishment of sedentary settlements and farming, humans had access to clean water wherever they went. 

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Historically, it is clear that the need for humans to have large quantities of water was directly related to different civilizations. For instance, the ancient roman baths, needed a large inflow of water because humans had adopted a sedentary lifestyle.  

Unfortunately, it is also clear that humans never understood the need for proper sanitation until the 19th century. This is probably as a result of humans realizing that contaminated water was a major cause of the many diseases affecting their existence. Moreover, this awakening must have taken place during the cultural and biological evolution of mankind.  

Because documented sources relating to water, health, and sanitation are found from relatively recent times, we can only postulate that the hunters and gatherers did not have those many waterborne risks and diseases as current humans have.  

According to archeological records, it is probably around 10,000 years ago that humankind adopted an agrarian lifestyle. This meant that humans could start living in built communities leading to the development of cities and eventually states. This development meant that human’s lifestyles became heavily dependent on water and not just water but clean water.  

As a result of the challenge posed by pathogens transmitted by contaminated water, it became apparent that the provision of clean water became a prerequisite for state formation and urbanization. 

As history proves, one of the oldest known permanent settlements on earth was Jericho. This was probably between 8,000 and 7,000 years before Christ. However, as archeological evidence has established, Jericho was built in close proximity of water bodies and springs.  

This is also true for other ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Mohenjo-Daro in present day Pakistan. In these ancient civilizations, archeologists have discovered the existence of water pipes, toilets, bathrooms, and water wells. 

Thus, there is clear evidence to show that humans did understand the importance of clean water as a way of ensuring public safety and health from ages ago. Because of this, groundwater from wells and springs was highly regarded even by some of the earliest Greek medical and philosophical writers. That is why it is easy to trace the history of water, health, and increased urbanization to the Iberian Peninsula, Egypt, eastern Mediterranean, and North Africa around 500 years before and after Christ.  

Because there were no scientific means of testing the quality of water, Greek medical writers such as Alcmaeon wrote that to safeguard health, some of the most common means of examining water was through the senses of touch, smell, taste, and temperature.   

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