A well is a vertical shaft which is dug down to fresh filtered water where a cistern is a storage room which catches winter runoff water which is not filtered
The well is dug down to the water level and relies on ground water.
The cistern is storage for rain water and is generally dug in lower areas to catch the runoff. It needs annual upkeep.
Although the well and the cistern may look the same from the exterior, they work completely differently. Also, the set up and the yearly maintenance is quite distinct from each other.
A well is a vertical chamber about 6 feet wide that must be placed a few hundred feet underground, at the depth of the water table. It is then lined with fieldstones and capped, in order to prevent evaporation and run-off. The well provides plenty of filtered water. Once the set up is complete, there is required maintenance annually.
The cistern on the other hand, is an underground chamber that is created to catch run-off water. Although it could be placed in different locations, like the well, the cistern water is not filtered. There had to be much more digging for a cistern as opposed to the well. The yearly maintenance was quite a lot including re-plastering the interior walls of the cistern.
Well is dug to reach the underground water table but cistern is simply a storage for rain-water harvesting.
Well is the structure one digs and builds to get to ground water table. Where the cistern is a water collecting space. It is usually lined with stone and plaster so the water won’t leak out. I is a high maintenance system.
A well is a shaft of about 6 foot wide dug down to the water table, that may be a few feet down or hundreds of feet down. It’s labour intensive to dig and needs seasonal maintenance but produces filtered water. A cistern is an underground chamber/reservoir for rainwater, created to capture runoff water. Advantage over a a well is that there are more location options, but disadvantages include that the water is not filtered, more excavation is required than for a well, and more maintenance in re-plastering the walls.
Both wells and cisterns are dug out in the ground. Both have to be maintained annually. A well is dug to the water table and supplies filtered water. A cistern catches rain runoff and is unfiltered.
Well is a pit or hole dug into the earth to reach a supply of water. The location of the well is not guaranteed as you may be digging to a point where there is no water. The advantage of a well is that it offers naturally filtered water.
Cistern looks very much like the well, but it functions differently in that it is a chamber collecting run-off water. As such, it is not filtered water.
Both methods of collecting water require seasonal maintenance to get a continuous supply of water.