Harmony search algorithm (HSA), developed by Hydrosystem lab. in Korea University in 2001, was a new meta-heuristic optimization algorithm inspired by the iterative improvision process of Jazz music players where the best harmony is eventually produced. HSA is now one of the most well-known meta-heuristic algorithms (as proven by its cited number of the first published paper more than 3,600 times as of January 11th 2018 based on Google Scholar citation) and has been applied to diverse research domains such as not only water resources and civil engineering but also in medical science, business, and humanities. This paper is a review article written with the wish for wider application of HSA and other optimization algorithms, especially in the domain of water resources engineering. Therefore, this paper first briefly introduces the mechanism and operators of HSA and then reviews its application area and citation frequency per research domain. In addition, recent globalization of HSA will be investigated and summarized by checking the current status of related international conferences and on-going research projects. After reviewing previous domestic papers with optimization algorithms specifically published in the water resources domain, this paper is finalized by delivering some suggestions to encourage the application of optimization algorithms including HSA.