For millennia the search for ‘pure’ water has been pursued by humans. Criteria for purity have become more complex, more rigid, and more quantitative over time; however, the principles, methods, and material for purifying water have remained remarkably similar from the earliest recorded information of 2000 BC. The scope of this paper is to present a brief history of water filtration and sedimentation practices for potable water management extending from the ancient times to the 19th century. It is not an exhaustive presentation, but instead presents some of the most important advances in water supply since the beginning of human's quest for pure water. M. N. Baker and M. J. Taras in 1981 presented an excellent overview of this quest, especially during the 17th to the 20th century.