Water supply

The Timeline


1st Century: Roman aqueducts

Before the days of copper pipes, mains supply and the Brita filtered jug, water was often as deadly as an enemy's spear. The ingenious Romans hit upon a solution to their mucky water supply: they built a series of raised aqueducts to bring water to cities and garrison towns across their empire. By the third century, the Roman network of ducts was 400 miles in length.



1613: London gets a New River

London's population may have boomed in the 17th century, but its supply of clean water certainly had not. Streams were overdrawn, disease was rife. Seeing an opportunity, entrepreneur Sir Hugh Myddelton set about constructing a 10ft-wide "water channel" from Amwell Springs in Hertfordshire to London. Despite vandalism and ill-disposed citizens "casting dogs and filth" into the channel, it supplied Londoners with water until 1904.



1871: "As constant as possible"

After an outbreak of cholera in 1871, the Prime Minister, William Gladstone, rushed through the Metropolis Water Act, in an attempt to stem the rise of the disease. No longer could water be drawn willy-nilly: national plumbing standards were instituted; water supplies were to be "as constant as possible", and a water examiner was appointed to ensure that turning on a tap didn't amount to dicing with death.



1910: The rise of the pipe

By the 20th century, wells and streams were out and the tap was in. As water chlorination became the norm and pipe networks were enlarged, private industry once again saw an opportunity: within a decade, there were 180 bodies supplying water. Standards, however, varied massively. The government stepped in to ensure a uniformity of service, slowly nationalising the water companies.



1973: The Water Act

After 60 years of confusion, Parliament finally passed legislation to simplify Britain's water supply. The hefty 1973 Water Act split England into 10 water regions, each with its own authority charged with maintaining supply and storing adequate quantities of water.



2011: Goodbye dripping tap?

The British Government moots plans for compulsory water meters in all homes, the suggestion being that the change will reduce water consumption by around 18 litres per person per day and help to conserve the nation's ecologically important waterways.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

    £40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

    £20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Recruitment Genius: Front End Developer - Midweight / Senior

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

    Day In a Page

    Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

    Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

    After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
    The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

    Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

    The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
    Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

    Tate Sensorium

    New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
    10 best sun creams for kids

    10 best sun creams for kids

    Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
    Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

    He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
    Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

    Remember Ashton Agar?

    The No 11 that nearly toppled England
    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks