When was the piped water supply started in Seoul? With the opening up of the country towards the end of the 19th century, the population of Hanyang (present-day Seoul) increased rapidly. Small streams and neighborhood wells were mostly contaminated; epidemics spread rapidly. Foreigners in the country, where the piped water supply was not started yet, had to buy clean potable water from people carrying ceramic water jars in a wooden frame on their backs.
In 1903, Emperor Gojong granted the right to install a piped water supply system to Americans H. Collbran and H. Bostwick, who started the country’s first power supply business. Ttukseom Reservoir was thus completed in 1908.
The piped water supply system was closely associated with the power supply. Power was needed to operate a steam turbine to supply water to distant places. Ttukseom was selected as the site of the reservoir, as it was a suitable place to take clean water from the Hangang (River) and collect firewood used for power generation for the steam turbine.
The purified piped water was supplied to places within the four main gates to Seoul and the Japanese military base in Yongsan.