Friday, October 22, 2010


In 1958 David Stick, in his book The Outer Banks of North Carolina, wrote
"[a]s is the case in many of the Banks communities, the basic source of water supply [on Ocracoke] is rain water, caught in cisterns."

This continued to be the case for nearly two more decades. You can read more about cisterns and water supply on Ocracoke by clicking on the photo below which is a link to our latest Ocracoke Newsletter


  1. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Cisterns may continue to be a way of life in Ocracoke. The Sanitary District is now selling an impact unit (water meter) for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house for the bargain price of $5,000, plus connection fees. If you live on a street without a water main, then you and your neighbors will be paying tens of thousands more for that service. The price of clean water in paradise...

  2. Anonymous2:44 AM

    Philip--Appreciate your reporting on the history and evolution of cisterns on Ocracoke. Of course, the natural question is do you have a cistern at your home/business? If so, do you use yours? The thought of installing one, a la the rising interest in rain barrels for gardening, is intriguing. I wonder, though, if the advent of municipal hook-ups came with a requirement to disable cisterns/pumps. Thanks, as always, for induling such questions.

  3. I do not have a cistern. We built the Village Craftsmen on the cusp of the new water system, so I never had one there. I now live in my grandparents' house (see the photo labeled "A Flat-topped Wooden Cistern" in the latest Newsletter), but the cistern was dismantled by the previous owners in 1977. Amy & David live in my parents' house (see the photo labeled "Cinder Block Cistern with Screened Porch Above). They no longer use the cistern (they're a lot of work to maintain).

    Ocracoke Sanitary District rules require the municipal system and any other water system to be totally separate, in order to prevent contamination. But we are still allowed to keep and use cisterns.

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