The water crisis is not a new issue, but new is the quantum of crisis. Cities are the centres of civilisation and so are the largest consumers of water. Water had always played a significant role in deciding the location as well as in sustenance of cities. Before the technological innovation of the central pipe water network, people developed different indigenous means to ensure access to water. Those are collectively called ‘traditional community-managed water system’. However, along with the technological advancement and consequent ease of water supply, these traditional systems were forgotten. This article, without getting into ‘romanticising the past’, claims that each city has a water history and explains why we need to understand that. Those systems can never be an alternative but can supplement the modern centralised system to a certain degree.