The presence of life has often been linked to the presence of water, where there is abundance in water there is abundance in life. Humanities water consumption separated from natural to artificial after the invention of agriculture. Irrigations schemes provided water to the fields, retained water during the dry season and it also distributed the nutrients over the fields. The first archaeological evidence of irrigation was found in South America around 4000 to 3000 BCE.
The importance of clean drinking water has only been known for a few hundred years. Before this knowledge, countless of people died from water-borne diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid and countless of other bacteria, viruses or parasites. Even to this day outbreaks of water-borne diseases are feared for the speed in which they can spread.
Our water consumption has grown exponentially over the last one hundred years and with growing population, food and energy consumption it will probably continue to rise.
Source: UN FAO