This paper examines the influence of water on public health throughout history. Farming, settling down and building of villages and towns meant the start of the problems mankind suffers from this very day – how to get drinkable water for humans and cattle and how to manage the waste we produce. The availability of water in large quantities has been considered an essential part of a civilized way of life in different periods: Roman baths needed a lot of water as does the current Western way of life with water closets and showers. The importance of good quality drinking water was realized already in antiquity, yet the importance of proper sanitation was not understood until the 19th century.

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