Saving Water

In the sertão ---the hinterland of northeastern Brazil ---there were years when it didn't rain at all. And even if it did, there was no running water, so people either had to carry water from a nearby dam or pay someone to do that or they might build a cisterna in the back yard to save rain water.  The ceramic-tile roofs were perfect for gathering water, for the rain ran to edge of the roof where it dropped into metal gutters that eventually carried the water to the cisterna which might be 12 or 15 feet deep (mostly below ground level, but with a wall about 3 feet high above the ground.) Most were about 10'W X 12'L, so they could hold enough water to supply a small family (but probably not a large one) until the rains came the following winter ---if they came at all.

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“Sunset at the Railroad” by PCV Nicholas Baylor Hall. Namibia, 2011.