Frank Dixey’s A Practical Handbook of Water Supply, published in 1931 is briefly reviewed. The text is correlated with current knowledge and experience. It is evident from the book that some of the present challenges in the water supply sector have been around for a long time which leads to the conclusion that effecting a change takes time. Development agencies therefore need to set realistic targets and time frames. Some of the rather old texts should be consulted and reviewed periodically as they may contain very useful information.