Pre-history – 19th Century

Waterfall “Lake” (Reservoir), 1890s

5,000 – 6,000 years ago Ancient human remains found at Guar Kepah in Seberang Prai, south of the Muda River, indicate that the area had once been inhabited by nomadic Melanesians in the Neolithic era.
5th – 6th Century The “Cherok To’Kun Megalith indicated that Seberang Prai was part of the ancient Kingdom of Kadaram (which subsequently became the Sultanate of Kedah in 1136, according to the “Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa”).
15th Century Penang Island documented by Chinese sailors from the Ming Dynasty and mapped as “Binlang Yu” in the “Nautical Charts of Zheng He”.
16th Century Portuguese spice traders visited “Batu Ferringhi” to replenish their water supply and trade. English privateer James Lancaster, commander of the ship “James Bonadventure” landed at Batu Ferringhi in 1592, pillaging every vessel he encountered.
17th Century Penang Island referred to as “Pulo Pinaom” in Portuguese historian Emanuel Godinho de Eredia’s 1613 map of the Malay Peninsula.
1786 Captain (Sir) Francis Light took possession of Penang Island for the British India Company after the Sultan of Kedah, Sultan Abdullah Mukarram Shah, agreed to cede it to the company. The island was renamed as the “Prince of Wales Island” after the title bestowed on the heir to the British throne, and a settlement of “George Town” was established in honour of King George III, the reigning monarch of Great Britain.
1805 1st engineered water supply system for 10,000 settlers in George Town: a simple aqueduct (open pipeline) system that delivered raw water from the waterfalls in the foothills of Penang Hill.
1888 1st dam: The Bukit Panchor Dam was commissioned by the British colonial government in Seberang Prai Selatan.
1894 1st reservoir: Waterfall Reservoir was commissioned in the Penang Botanic Gardens. It was built to store clean water. This reservoir was required because there was insufficient pressure from the 1805 system – heavy rains would cause water supplied to George Town to be charged with silt and sand.
1900 1st “universal water metering system” was introduced in Penang.