When did people drink water?

Nov 2010
1,583
#1
I know people drank beer as their first choice because the water was polluted and dangerous to drink.

But when did water become safe to drink?

Did the ancient greeks and romans drink water?
 
Aug 2009
5,740
Belgium
#2
You could drink water from a river or a pond in the wild you know, you just wouldn't drink it in densely populated areas. Water has been drunk since the beginning of time. And they also drank wine in the south.
 

A7X

Ad Honorem
May 2010
3,399
Orion arm of the milky way
#3
I remember hearing about this, Americans usually get odd looks when they go to Europe and ask for water. For centuries it had a reputation of being dirty and bad, almost poisonous to drink. I'm guessing water became safe again when people stopped dumping waste there.
 
Apr 2011
2,578
#4
You could drink water from a river or a pond in the wild you know, you just wouldn't drink it in densely populated areas. Water has been drunk since the beginning of time. And they also drank wine in the south.
Bacteria found in some water sources both in and away from civilization makes the the source poisonous to drink.
 
May 2011
1,747
Macedonia, Eastern Roman Empire
#5
I remember hearing about this, Americans usually get odd looks when they go to Europe and ask for water. For centuries it had a reputation of being dirty and bad, almost poisonous to drink. I'm guessing water became safe again when people stopped dumping waste there.
Not in Southern Europe I guess, since water is valuable from the antiquity there. In fact it's the most popular drink. And of course the ancient Greeks and Romans were drinking water, that's why they both developed water systems.
 
Apr 2011
1,461
Melbourne Australia
#6
As G V says water has been consumed from the earliest age and it was only with the rise of the cities that it became polluted.
I remember being in the West Country of England and seeing Drake's Leat. This was the first municipal water supply to a town in England drawing its water from the moor above the town and supplied Plymouth so successfully it was reopened in WWll as a precaution in case the regular supply was damaged. That water would be more pure than any supplied from the modern tap.
 
May 2011
832
Bulgaria
#7
I know people drank beer as their first choice because the water was polluted and dangerous to drink.

But when did water become safe to drink?

Did the ancient greeks and romans drink water?
Most of the Roman cities in my country were formed around mnieral springs. Greek colonies, however, were only along the sea shores. So no idea what Greeks preferred, but Romans used water extensively in everyday life.

You could drink water from a river or a pond in the wild you know, you just wouldn't drink it in densely populated areas.
True. Although it's always good to check 100m upstream for any dead animals or stagnation. You don't want to drink a death goat, for example!:)
 
Apr 2009
657
The upper stages of lower life
#8
It's a survival instinct that's been passed along since the emergence of life. Even with or without the knowledge of the sanitation of the water, one is naturally drawn to water for the sake of hydration as one of the most essential and natural substances of the Earth.

It's only our most recent knowledge of dirt, bacteria and so forth that has us repelled from drinking or bathing with just any water. But certain parts of the world have no choice but to use what they can access even with the health risks involved. Their natural instinct to drink is of much higher ratio.
 
#9
I know people drank beer as their first choice because the water was polluted and dangerous to drink.

But when did water become safe to drink?

Did the ancient greeks and romans drink water?
The Romans drank water, yes. I do not have enough knowledge about the Greeks but I believe they did as well.

Water for the Ancient Romans was, of course, supplied by a huge system of aqueducts that brought in fresh water from the mountain sources since the third century BC. The reason that this was needed was very simple....the Tiber River was polluted from waste due to the progress of the sewer systems that flushed the waste directly into the river in the central part of Rome as well as waste from other settlements up stream. The Tiber is still polluted today ( What's Kind of New About The Tiber - Rebecca Helm-Ropelato blog foreign remarks) and is not a source of drinking water anywhere that I am aware of.

So the question is somewhat difficult to answer in any specific date...other than that of the Ancient Romans. Some wells were used and during the middle ages. different methods were used to filter and store rain water in Rome when the aqueducts were out of service. Repairs were eventually made to some of them and water quality improved and the population rose again over the centuries.

Interestingly enough water quality has been a reacurring problem even into the 20th century in the US in cities or great size like New York.

EDIT: Also...it should be noted that I refuse to drink tap water. I grew up in an area where the municipal water supply was heavily polluted by agriculture and now I simply do not trust it except in certain areas where I have seen the water reports for. In some places in Sacramento the water is better than almost anywhere in Northern California.
 

Louise C

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
7,239
Southeast England
#10
In England, beer was still the prefered drink of choice in the 19th century, though there had been some efforts made by abstainers to persuade the poor to drink tea instead. This led to widespread malnutrition, as beer has quite a lot of nutrients in it whereas tea has none, as well as being at that time more expensive than beer.

In southern Europe I think wine was more commonly drunk than beer, but I don't think they thought much of water as a drink either.
 
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