Rain is the time-honored water supply for native Bermudians (who have a natural resistance to the bits of debris and bacteria that make their way into their cisterns). But rooftop water collection can't meet the needs of the island once tourist season kicks in. At the height of the summer, the island gets as many as 200,000 visitors. So hotels, hospitals, and other commercial operations must find other sources. In the late 1970s, the government started pumping water from "lenses," underground aquifers where rainwater, which has made its way through the ground over the course of two years, rests atop heavier seawater. These lenses are still in use; a plant at a former military fort filters the water with reverse-osmosis technology, then chlorinates it for its journey along 30 miles of pipes to Bermuda's towns.
Still, demand for water is outstripping supply by about 20 percent during peak seasons, so the government has resorted to water rationing. But by the summer of 2005, it hopes to begin desalinization, making seawater potable by removing the salt. The process uses more energy, so it's considerably more expensive. But that's the price of keeping paradise up and running.
See image 7.