The development of modern water supply systems has varied widely in terms of speed, paths and results, and each supply system has been strongly conditioned by its spatial, socio-economic and cultural context. Barcelona provides a useful illustration of how such a modern system came into being in a particularly dynamic southern European setting. Despite being Spain's leading industrial centre, the driving force behind the introduction of its new water supply system did not come from an industrial imperative but rather from the city's expansion plan, approved in 1859, which gave rise to a proliferation of private initiatives. Later, decisive changes around the turn of the twentieth century led to a concentration of water companies, sewer renewal projects and the entry of water into the domestic sphere, and the extension of the water supply to people's homes. The development of a modern water supply system in Barcelona, however, required a period of a hundred years – from 1867, when the first steam-powered pumping station was built, to 1967, when the water from the Ter River transfer reached the city, allowing new consumption patterns to spread rapidly.