The step wells of ancient times tell us the architectural expertise, engineering skills and the need of water by people.. Also it tells us that level of water was quite below the surface in many regions.
The water resource was precious and was to be protected from animals. Water resource was to be made accessible to people. Further the step well was a good place for people to do their meetings too. Also, water was prevented from going away to other locations through the holes in Earth. So the steps and walls are constructed. It must have been difficult to use a pulley rope method to bring water to the top. So they constructed these step wells.
As we use energy - electricity to bring water up to the top, we may not need to build step wells any more. Still in our country there are many villages in many states where people do need to go to step wells. They are live still in summers. People live on them.