When this old house was built back in 1908 there was a very high-tech-at-the-time water system. It consisted of the gutters draining into a cistern which then fed a holding tank in the basement which could be pumped to the old cast iron tub for bathing. Such a luxury! Later on down the line a more modern well and pump was installed along with all the indoor plumbing accessories. Problem is, that modern-day pump needs electricity to run. If the power goes out, so does your water. Most people out in the country solve that problem with a backup generator. But again, that needs to run off some sort of fuel. Fuel which you have to store somewhere. If you don't have one of the built-in models you have to lug the generator to where you need it and reroute a bunch of electrical stuff and then you have to hope the generator actually starts when you need it. There are a whole lot of ifs involved. So I decided I needed a backup for my backup.
The old cistern is still here. It's just a big hole in the ground lined with brick in the back yard. The pipes are no longer functioning and it has pretty much just sat here doing nothing for at least the past sixty years or so. Seems silly to waste a valuable resource doesn't it?
I'm happy to report the cistern is now back "online" and fully operational. The guys simply rerouted the gutter to drain into the cistern and installed a shallow well hand pump. I plan to use this as my water source for gardening. In the event of a power failure I'll have another source of water for the animals. If I wanted to I could even filter the water and drink it myself. And all I have to do is pump the handle a few times. Hmph! So, um, who was it that said technology makes our lives easier?