Timeline of water supply
This is a timeline of water supply, focusing on the provision and treatment of water for non–agricultural human consumption. Improved water source is prioritized. Irrigation and water treatment are described in the Timeline of irrigation and Timeline of water treatment.
|Time period||Development summary|
|Prehistory||Hunter-gatherers use rivers for drinking and bathing. Permanent settlements are usually established near a river or lake. When there are no rivers or lakes in an area, people use groundwater for drinking. During the Neolithic, humans dig the first permanent water wells, from where vessels can be filled and carried by hand.|
|Ancient times||In the Roman era a water wheel device known as a noria supplies water to aqueducts and other water distribution systems in major cities in Europe and the Middle East.|
|Middle ages||Little development is made in the water treatment area. The water is extracted from rivers or wells, or from outside the city. Waste and excrements are discharged into the water, thus rendering circumstances highly unhygenic. People that drink this water fall ill and often die. To solve the problem people would drink water from outside the city, where rivers are unpolluted. So-called water-bearers carry water to the cities.|
|Industrial revolution||Mechanical pumped supplies become available with the advent of the steam driven Newcomen engine in 1700.|
|19th century||Great Britain would be seen as the forerunner of modern water supply and sanitation systems. However, innovations would soon spread to Germany, other parts of Europe, USA and later also elsewhere.|
|20th century||Desalination appears late in the century, and is still limited to a few areas.|
|Recent years||Worldwide, about 1.2 billion people do not have access to clean and safe drinking water. Every year, 5 million people die of waterborne diseases.|
|Year||Event type||Details||Present time country/location|
|8500 BC – 7000 BC||Storage||Some of the world's oldest known wells, located in Cyprus, date from this period.||Cyprus|
|6500 BC||Storage||Wells dug around this time are found in the Jezreel Valley.||Israel|
|2090 BC||Storage||Wood-lined wells are known from the early Neolithic Linear Pottery culture, for example in Kückhoven, Germany.||Germany|
|5000 BC||Storage||Jericho stores water in water wells that are used as sources.|
|3200 BC – 1100 BC||Piping||The Minoan civilization in Crete is the first to use underground clay pipes for sanitation and water supply. Knossos, the capital, has a well–organized water system for bringing in clean water.||Greece|
|3000 BC||System||The city of Mohenjo-Daro in Pakistan uses a very extensive water supply. The city boasts public bathing facilities with water boiler installations and bathrooms.||Pakistan|
|700 BC – 681 BC||Canal||Assyrian king Sennacherib builds a 80km stone-lined canal 20 metres wide to bring fresh water from Bavian to Nineveh, including a stone aqueduct 330 metres long.||Iraq, Iran|
|700 BC–400 AD||Aqueduct||The Romans build a system of aqueducts providing inhabitants with fresh running water, which is piped directly to homes of the wealthy, and to public fountains and baths. This system greatly improves domestic sanitation and adequate disposal of sewage.||Italy|
|100 BC – 800 AD||System||Nazca people in ancient Peru employ a system of interconnected wells and an underground watercourse known as puquios.||Peru|
|40 – 60 AD?||Aqueduct||Ancient Roman aqueduct Pont du Gard is finished.||France|
|52 AD||System||Rome has 220 miles of aqueducts, which bring in fresh water to the city, and is used for public bathing, fountains, and latrines. The waste water is then removed by the city’s sewage system, some of which, like the Cloaca Maxima, is still in use today.||Italy|
|100 AD||Publication||Roman senator Frontinus writes a handbook on the Roman aqueduct system.||Italy|
|200 AD – 400 AD||Storage||The first rock-cut stepwells are built in India.||India|
|532 AD||Storage||The Basilica Cistern is built in Istanbul to store fresh water for the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I's palace and nearby buildings.||Turkey|
|550 AD – 625 AD||Storage||The stepwells at Dhank in Rajkot district in India are built.||India|
|1500||System||In Hama, Syria, there are a series of water driven wheels of various diameters, that lifts the river water to an aqueduct at a higher level for drinking and irrigation purposes.||Syria|
|1579||Technology||Dutchman Peter Maurice acquires a 500 year lease to construct a water wheel under the first arch of London Bridge on the River Thames, supplying water to individual local houses through lead pipes.||United Kingdom|
|1723||Technology||Chelsea Waterworks Company becomes one of the first water companies to use steam driven Newcomen engine.||United Kingdom|
|1775||Piping||Scottish watchmaker Alexander Cummings invents the S-bend pipe.||United Kingdom|
|1802||Canal||Napoleon Bonaparte builds the Ourcq canal which would bring 70,000 cubic meters of water a day to Paris.||France|
|1804||System||The first drinking water supply covering an entire city is built in Paisley, Scotland by Scottish civil engineer John Gibb, in order to supply his bleachery and the entire city with water.||United Kingdom|
|1807||Transportation||Filtered water is transported to Glasgow.||United Kingdom|
|1845||Technology||The first screw-down water tap is patented by Guest and Chrimes, a brass foundry in Rotherham, England.||United Kingdom|
|1913||Aqueduct||The first Los Angeles Aqueduct is completed, bringing water 238 miles from the Owens Valley of the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Los Angeles basin.||United States|
|1930||Engineering||American structural engineer Hardy Cross develops a method for the analysis and design of water flow in simple pipe distribution systems, ensuring consistent water pressure. Cross would employ the same principles for the water system problem that he devised for the Hardy Cross method of structural analysis, a technique that enables engineers—without benefit of computers—to make the thousands of mathematical calculations necessary to distribute loads and moments in building complex structures such as multi-bent highway bridges and multistory buildings.||United States|
|1936||Facility||The Hoover Dam opens, aimed at providing water for irrigation and municipal water supplies for Nevada, Arizona, and California, in addition to electricity generation.||United States|
|1955||Piping||Ductile cast-iron pipe becomes the industry standard, being used in water distribution systems. It becomes the industry standard for metal due to its superior strength, durability, and reliability over cast iron. The pipe is used to transport potable water, sewage, and fuel, and is also used in fire-fighting systems.|
|1970s||Facility||The Aswan High Dam construction is completed. It impounds the waters of the Nile to form Lake Nasser, the world’s third-largest reservoir, with a capacity of 5.97 trillion cubic feet. The dam would supply water for municipalities and irrigation.||Egypt|
|1977||Organization||The UN Conference on Water is held in Mar del Plata, Argentina, with the goals of assessing the status of wa ter resources; ensuring that an adequate supply of quality water is available to meet the planet’s socio-economic needs; increasing water use efficiency; and promoting preparedness, nationally and internationally, so as to avoid a water crisis of global dimensions be fore the end of twentieth century. The conference would approve the so called Mar del Plata Action Plan, which would become the first internationally coordinated approach to Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). The Mar del Plata conference would be considered a success, in part due to the active participation of the developing world and the discussions on various aspects of water management.||Argentina|
|1990||Publication||The WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP) starts producing regular estimates of national, regional and global progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).|
|1990||Statistics||The proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source stands at 76%.|
|1992||Organization||The International Conference on Water and the Environment (ICWE) is organized in Dublin. The formulated Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development recognizes the increasing scarcity of water as a result of the different conflicting uses and overuses of wat.||Ireland|
|1996||Organization||The Global Water Partnership is founded with the support of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.|
|1998||Policy||The European Union accepts the Drinking Water Directive 98/83/EC guideline, a framework of quality demands for drinking water. The guidelines include parameters that must be checked to determine quality. The countries of the European Union can add their own demands to this guideline.|
|2000||The Second World Water Forum in The Hague concludes that women are the primary users of domestic water, that women use water in their key food production roles, and that women and children are the most vulnerable to water-related disasters.||Netherlands|
|2000||Statistics||Worldwide, 3.5 billion people use piped water supply.|
|2003||Program launch||The United Nations Interagency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) establishes the Gender and Water Task Force. The Task Force would since become a UN-Water Task Force and take responsibility for the gender component of International Water for Life Decade (2005-1015).|
|2006||Statistics||According to a World Bank study, average water tariffs in Latin America are the highest of any region of the developing world. Tariffs are about four times higher than in South Asia, three times higher than in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and almost twice as high as in East Asia. However, tariffs are less than half as high as in OECD countries. Based on a sample of 23 major cities in Latin America the average residential water tariff for a monthly consumption of 15 cubic meter was US$0.41, equivalent to a monthly bill of only about US$6.|
|2010 (28 July)||Policy||The Human Right to Water and Sanitation is recognized as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly.|
|2010||Statistics||About 87% of the global population (5.9 billion people) has access to piped water supply through house connections or to an improved water source through other means than house, including standpipes, water kiosks, spring supplies and protected wells. However, about 13% (about 900 million people) do not have access to an improved water source and has to use unprotected wells or springs, canals, lakes or rivers for their water needs.|
|2015||Statistics||The proportion of the global population using an improved drinking water source stands at 91% (up from 76% in 1990). 71 per cent of the global population (5.2 billion people) use a safely managed drinking water service; that is, one located on premises, available when needed and free from contamination. Also, the worldwide population using piped water supply reaches 4.7 billion (up from 3.5 billion in 2000).|
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How the timeline was built
The initial version of the timeline was written by User:Sebastian.
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