Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the kinds of people who get rainwater systems?
Oh, people who like to drink really good-tasting water or care about how their cooking, people who have livestock, gardens or crops, people interested in staying healthy, adding to the value of their property, having a secure and independent source of water, folks whose wells either have bad-tasting water or went dry, ranchers who need water supplied in remote areas, and people who live in an area where digging a well or getting a connection to a public water line is impossible or prohibitively expensive.
What do I need to look for on my property to know whether rainwater harvesting is feasible there?
You need a metal, ceramic tile or silicon membrane roof with as few trees near it as possible (preferably no trees), and you need room for a tank and maybe a pumphouse if you're going to drink the water. Other than that, rain falls everywhere.
When is the best time to install a rainwater system?
The driest time of year is the best time to install a rainwater system. The wettest time of year is the absolute worst time of year for installation. Ask us how we know.
Where do you install the system, including the tank?
First we'd have to take a look at your property. If there are buildings and/or trees on it, this is going to affect both where you want to put the system, and the tank itself. We'd also have to check the site's geology a little. Are you in Bastrop, Texas, on sand? Are you in Hays County, on solid limestone? How about the "Manor Gumbo" clay northeast of Austin? All these locations come with their own set of rules.
Can you bury the tank underground?
Yes, but this will cost more for installation. If you're worried about tank aesthetics, you have a few choices: hide the tank along the blind side of your building, clad the tank in a material (such as stone or wood or plants) you or your neighbors find more appealing, paint the tank in a way you or your neighbors find more appealing, consider making the deck part of the outside "deck" of house, or... bury it.
Why build a rainwater harvesting system?
The number one reason we like rainwater harvesting comes in the form of a cool drink of water. Anyone who has ever tasted rainwater can tell you it's the best drinking water--and cooking water--there is.
How does a rainwater harvesting system work?
Rain harvesting is as old as cisterns and works with almost no electric power in many cases. Here are some diagrams to help you see what a typical system can look like:
Do I need a lot of money?
Not always. We sell 55-gallon rainbarrels that you can place at the end of your roof gutters, and our rain barrels are pretty affordable. So harvesting rainwater doesn't have to be complicated or overly expensive.
How big a system do you want? Are you interested in water solely for your garden (which doesn't need purification or much filtration), or do you want to be able to drink and bathe in rainwater? Systems can cost a little or a lot, but in the state of Texas there's never any sales tax on rainwater system components, and in some Texas counties there is grant money available for property owners who want put in rainwater harvesting systems (see the Texas Rainwater Harvesting Manual, 3rd ed. (PDF) for more info on tax and grant details).