The Advent of Municipal Water Treatment

Long before Snow linked cholera deaths to poor water quality, people were beginning to suggest that pure water be provided to every household through some sort of citywide water filtration. The supposition that every person deserved clean water to drink and bathe in was related to the general philosophical themes of the Enlightenment period in Europe.


During the Age of Enlightenment of the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, philosophers ruminated over the natural rights of all humanity. The right to clean, pure water began to be associated with these innate rights of all humanity. Such philosophical discussions led the French scientist La Hire to propose that every French household have a sand water filter installed that would provide clean water to that household. Sand filters had become the most popular method of water filtration throughout many European towns. Read more

Announcement of the First World Irrigation and Drainage Prize, 2013

dukhovniy_1wid_award“From a strong field of eminent candidates, the international Jury for the ICID World Irrigation and Drainage Prize 2013, chaired by President Honoraire Mr Peter Lee, with members drawn from FAO, IWMI and ICID has adjudged Prof. Victor A. Dukhovny as the winner of the First World Irrigation and Drainage Prize 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the development of agriculture water management made over 57 years.

An eminent researcher, academician, engineer and administrator in the Irrigation and Drainage Sector, Prof. Dr. Dukhovny is known for his vision, knowledge,extensive experience, dedication, andunwavering commitment to land and water productivity improvements for agriculture and to achieving food and water security. Prof. Dukhovny is an ardent advocate of the benefits of water sharing for peace, human security and economic prosperity.

The first part of Dr Dukhovny’s career was notable for his leadership of the construction and development of irrigation over 700,000 ha of the Central Asian steppes encompassing best practice at the time, and incorporating several innovations in drainage technology as well as irrigation, which were the result of his field research. Read more

The Use of the Microscope in Water Filter History

Anton van Leeuwenhoek used his discovery of the microscope to see and describe the teeming life in a single drop of water. Robert Hooke, considered the English father of microscopy, confirmed Leeuwenhoek’s descriptions of tiny, living organisms in a drop of water and further refined the microscope. Soon scientists were examining tiny particles of life they had never before seen nor known existed prior to the invention of the microscope.


The microscope has an interesting place in water filter history. In mid-19th century London, where diseases ran rampant because of the tight quarters of the working class, city officials began to link the spread of cholera to poor drinking water quality (Baker & Taras, 1981). In areas where sand water filters had been installed, the outbreak of cholera had greatly decreased. Read more

A Great Discovery in Water Filtration History

The Renaissance period, beginning in the late fourteenth century, ended the scientific and intellectual stagnation of the Dark Ages and sparked a new period of discovery.Water-Filtration-History

In this period, often called the Age of Discovery, several inventions came about that greatly affected the world. Included among these inventions was the microscope, a scientific innovation that greatly affected the history of water filters. Read more

Water Treatment in the Middle Ages

The ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome designed amazing aqueducts to route water pathways and provide the first municipal water systems. On the American continent, archeological evidence suggests that the ancient Mayan civilization used similar aqueduct technology to provide water to urban residents. Further advancements in water technology ended, for the most part, with the fall of these civilizations.


During the Middle Ages, few experiments were attempted in water purification or filtration. Devout Catholicism throughout Europe marked this time period, often known as the Dark Ages due to the lack of scientific innovations and experiments. Because of the low level of scientific experimentation, the future for water purification and filtration seemed very dark. Read more