For centuries, people have relied on rainwater harvesting to supply water for household, landscape, livestock, and agricultural uses. Before the advent of large centralized water supply systems, rainwater was collected from roofs and stored on site in tanks known as cisterns. With the development of large, reliable water treatment and distribution systems and more affordable well drilling equipment, rain harvesting was all but forgotten, even though it offered a source of pure, soft, low-sodium water.
A renewed interest in this time-honored approach of collecting water has emerged in Texas and elsewhere because of escalating environmental and economic costs of providing water by centralized water systems or by well drilling. The health benefits of rainwater, and potential cost savings associated with rainwater collection systems have further spurred this interest.