"Other than air, the only substance more vital to life is water. Our bodies brim with it, and if we're deprived of it for even a few days, the results can be fatal. Our planet, too, is mostly water, with oceans across approximately 70 per cent of its surface. But potable water has in many times and places been a scarce resource. Water traces the history of our relationship with drinking water -- our attempts to find it, keep it clean and make it widely available. From ancient times to the present, humans have tried many ways to render water palatable: boiling it for tea, distilling or brewing it as part of alcoholic beverages, or piping it from springs, bubbles and all. Ian Miller covers the histories of water treatment and supply, belief in its medicinal powers, the rising popularity of branded bottled water and much more. As access to fresh water becomes an ever more potent problem worldwide, this book is a fascinating reminder of our long engagement with this most vital fluid."--Book jacket.