As a group of islands, Bermuda is obviously surrounded by water – salt water, that is. But it lacks inland freshwater sources such as rivers and streams. Water for drinking and washing comes directly from above: rainfall. At the rate of approximately 55 inches of rain spread throughout the year, that works well most of the time.
Demonstrating an early understanding of the practicality of renewable resources, Bermuda’s architecture developed to ensure a supply of water to building occupants. Bermuda houses capture rainfall on the roof, which is designed to channel the rain down pipes to underground tanks or cisterns for storage. Water pumped in for use in the home passes through filters but is not treated with chemicals.
Without the benefit of modern excavation equipment, early stone buildings got their water supply from above-ground tanks. However, these attractive architectural features make no sense when space is at a premium and today modern machinery enables a more practical underground solution.
Bermuda roofs are the first things visitors observe. Their snowy white layers top pleasing pastel-painted stone buildings and they are usually kept clean because of their water catchment value.
While we always hope visitors will understand the situation, today we are able to accommodate our guests with reverse osmosis plants providing desalinated water to hotels. Naturally, Bermuda’s residents have grown up with appreciation for their “free” fresh water supply – and you won’t find them letting the taps run unnecessarily or taking lengthy showers!