..is a human right. In the Antiquity, approx. 500 b.C., Romans and Greeks discovered that the quality of water had an impact on human health. They started to examine water according for the simple sense principles: taste, smell, appearance and temperature.

At this time clear water was considered as clean water.

Pulla, Croatia ©HeleneClaire

Greeks and Romans started to use different methods to improve the quality of the water, it is today known, that they discovered how to use settling tanks, sieves, filters and the boiling of water. At least boiling of water, which was widely recommended by the medical authors during antiquity, would have diminished the biological risks of poor quality water. They already came to the point, that the boiling of water, if technically feasible and from a hygienic point of view recommended, had ecological and economical limitations in the event of an extensive use since firewood and other combustibles would sooner or later have become a scarce resource around the Mediterranean basin.

Much later, in 1883, the German Robert Koch in 1883 found out, that specifically the cholera bacteria was transported in the water. Approximately ten years later, the city of Hamburg had installed one of the very first drinking water network. The water was pumped out of the Elbe river and distributed though a pipelines system directly to the houses, without any treatment. But in 1892 a massive Cholera outbreak happened in the city, causing the death of many inhabitants. The epidemic situation was fueled by the water distribution network.

With many thanks to ©DennisWolter – Water and Sanitation Senior Engineer… and artist.


Billions of people have gained access to drinking water source. Still it is estimated that half of the world population are not connected to proper managed water network, 10% are even still drinking water from unprotected sources, half of them living in sub-Saharan Africa. The lack of domestic water supply is often affecting women and mothers that forced to walk long distances every day to bring water for drinking, cooking and daily care.