From the earliest recorded history there been environmental impacts and civilisation failure, due to inappropriate water resources management. Even with current technology, population growth and development have overtaken our ability to provide secure water supplies, maintain productive landscapes and protect aquatic environments. Using a paradigm ?the Art of Strategy? the mythical and historical background of human-water relationship was reviewed to gain a greater understanding and guidance for future water resources management. An understanding of, and cultural strategies for living with the uncertainties of the hydrological system appeared essential to the survival of earlier communities. Reviving cultural practices to suit the modern human condition and use of environmentally sensitive hydrological technology are explored as options for future development. Of general interest to students of water use history, this review should assist professionals and those planning a future in water resource development and management to understand the basic character of the human-water relationship and the boundaries beyond which problems can occur.