We have been in our new digs over four months now. Among many things that I love in our new location, my favorite aspect of the new apartment is that we no longer have to fight the futilities. We have a back-up generator to supply electricity during the frequent power outages, and since our house is not on the street water grid, we don't have to worry about lack of water. Our landlords do a great job of maintaining the cisterns and associated systems. The pump is in good working order, and so far we haven't had a broken pipe (touch wood).
But there is something about cistern water that differs from the municipal water you get at home -- namely, that it does not have the rigid health controls on it that municipal sources do. A cistern owner does not have to chlorinate or flourinate his cistern water; he does not have to run it through filter after filter to ensure particulate matter is down to 1 ppm.
The cisterns at our apartment do have a triple-filtration system that makes the water suitable for bathing and cooking with, but occasionally, we notice something a little ... off ... about our cistern water. It starts to smell a little funny. During these times, we avoid drinking our cistern water, as in all probability, the reason for the smell is that something -- an insect, a frog, a rat -- has crawled into the cistern and died there.
I always thought the smell reminded me of sauerkraut, but I think HB hit the nail on the head last night, when he exclaimed from the shower, "Why does our water smell of peanut butter and old socks?!"