Humans consume water in many ways. In addition to meeting essential daily needs, such as drinking, cleansing, cooking, or producing food, water is also consumed in leisure activities, such as fishing and other water-related sports, or through the enjoyment of urban waterscapes. In this general sense, human beings have always consumed water. More narrowly, the vending and consumption of drinkable water has also been long practiced by humans, as suggested by historical records of private water vending in societies as dissimilar as the Aztecs and the Arabs. However, in the context of this entry, we are only concerned with the emergence of the water consumer as a social category since the expansion of domestic urban water services from the late-eighteenth century onward. The emergence of ...

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