Ancient civilization valued the vital role of water in human life. As reflected in the literature, environmental awareness led to early water treatments and these are briefly described in this paper. Thus the period prior to 500 BC to 1000 AD saw the use of naturally occurring materials for water purification, the building of aqueducts, and the introduction of the distillation process. This was followed by a dormant period of five centuries in which hardly any progress was made in water purification methodology. From the 17th to the 19th century, progress was made on filtration processes and the introduction of the microscope. In addition chemical methods for water disinfection by the use of chlorine and ozone were reported. These methods and their combination progressed significantly through the 20th century. However the problems associated with chemical contamination of ground water, from which, drinking water is mainly generated remained practically ignored for about five decades. It was in the late seventies that this was brought to light. Since then technologies for groundwater purification started to emerge but a lot remains to be done in this area of research. The crucial role of suitable analytical tools for any technological development which aim to remove toxic pollutants from water is acknowledged. Thus the need of re-visiting old methodology making use of the advantages resulting from the availability of advanced analytical techniques and the possibility of enriching naturally occurring materials by the introduction of supramolecular receptors for water decontamination purposes are emphasized.

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