How Was Water Stored in Ancient Times?

Water is an essential element for human survival, and ancient civilizations found various ways to store it. Let’s take a look at the different methods used to store water in ancient times.

Underground Cisterns

One of the most common methods used in ancient times was the construction of underground cisterns. These were large storage tanks that were dug into the ground and lined with waterproof materials such as clay, lime, or bricks.

The cisterns were designed to collect rainwater that fell on rooftops or courtyards and divert it into the storage tanks through a system of gutters and pipes. The water was then stored for long periods, ensuring that there was always a supply of fresh water available during dry seasons.


Another method used to store water in ancient times was wells. Wells were dug deep into the ground to reach underground aquifers or natural springs. The walls of the well were lined with stones or bricks to prevent collapse, and a pulley system was installed to draw water from the well.

Wells provided a constant supply of water throughout the year, but they required regular maintenance to keep them clean and free from contamination.

Earthen Jars

Earthen jars were also commonly used to store water in ancient times. These jars were made from clay and baked in kilns at high temperatures to make them waterproof.

The jars came in various sizes and shapes and could be easily transported from one place to another. They also kept the water cool, making them ideal for use during hot weather.


Reservoirs were large artificial lakes constructed by damming rivers or streams. They provided a reliable source of water for irrigation, drinking, and other purposes.

The walls of the reservoirs were made from stones or bricks, while the bottom was lined with clay or other waterproof materials. The water was collected during the rainy season and stored for use during dry seasons.


In conclusion, ancient civilizations developed various methods to store water to ensure a constant supply of fresh water throughout the year. These methods included underground cisterns, wells, earthen jars, and reservoirs.

Despite being thousands of years old, some of these methods are still in use today, demonstrating the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our ancestors.