The practices of locating, digging and boring wells, raising water from them, providing well-head protection and speculating about the source of groundwater, are of great antiquity. Methods and ideas changed little until the Industrial Revolution. Steam power facilitated increased abstractions, and wells, adits and boreholes constructed by development of traditional methods, peaked by the end of the 19th century. By then, the scientific understanding of geology and of seepage towards wells had been founded. Thereafter, drilling and pumping technology and ground-water theory progressed rapidly. Awareness of the need for conservation by comprehensive management of resources grew, resulting in legislation which led to accelerated understanding and new modes of operation.