The practice of harvesting rainwater for home and garden use dates back to ancient human civilizations. The people of the Indus Valley used huge rock-cut vats to hold rainwater which could then be used as needed by crops and people. The ancient Romans and Greeks built elaborate cisterns and aqueducts to bring water to their cities. Istanbul’s sunken palace used a massive “pool” to collect water from the streets above.
Today, many of us live in places where our homes are connected to a city water supply. When I was very young, my parents’ house was not connected to the water network of the neighboring village. Instead, we received deliveries via a large truck in a cistern built under the back patio. The side yard had huge worn tire tracks in the dirt and grass. By the time I was ten years old (in 1980), the township infrastructure had been extended to reach the house, and the big water truck had stopped tearing up the lawn. The cistern, of course, is still there; a huge empty cement cave under the back of the house.
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