Since pre-colonial times, Manila residents used the Pasig River as their main source of water. The water was filtered through cloth in a tapayan (earthenware cooling jar) and then cleansed with alum. According to José Rizal, the rivers and esteros in Binondo were used as bath, sewer, laundry, fishery, transport and even drinking water. This can be one of the reasons for water-borne epidemics during those periods.
Francisco Carriedo y Peredo (November 7, 1690 – September 1743), a native of Santander, Spain, and general of the Santa Familia galleon, raised funds for the construction of the water system of Manila. He donated ten thousand pesos drawn from his fortune from the Acapulco-Manila investments. He did not live to see his resolve of creating a water system in Manila take fruit.
The system was constructed a century afterwards, through the exhaustive research of the Spanish Franciscan friar Felix Huerta, who was serving as administrator of the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila, using his long-forgotten funds, which Huerta tracked down after going through over 300 documents. Under his urging, the Carriedo Fountain was built in May 1882 as part of the Carriedo water works system and was inaugurated by Governor-General Fernando Primo de Rivera on July 24, 1882. It was named after the man who had conceived of and eventually funded the system, Francisco Carriedo y Peredo (1690–1743).
An interesting fact is that it was moved from one place to another. The fountain was first located at the Rotonda de Sampaloc, the intersection between Legarda, Lacson and Magsaysay streets which today forms the Nagtahan Interchange that separates Sampaloc from Santa Mesa since Don Francisco Carriedo y Peredo reside in Santa Mesa, Manila.The roundabout was cleared in 1976 due to traffic concerns, and the fountain was then transferred to the Balara Filters Park, in front of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) building right after they moved from their office in Arroceros, Manila, in the latter part of the 1970s.