Family collects 12,000 gal of rainwater

System secures enough water to turn off well.


FREDERICKSBURG, Texas (KXAN) - When the clouds dumped four inches of rain on the Fredericksburg area two weeks ago, most found relief from the parched conditions they had experienced in the two-year drought. For a local doctor and his family of five though, the weather event was just a drop in the bucket.

"We've lived in this house for about two months," said Dr. Mike Majors. "Never once have we had to use well water."

20 yards from Majors' Cold Water Ranch subdivision home sits a giant, metal tank full of water.  Leading up to the tank are a series of pipes that stretch about 900 feet in total length.

"His is the second largest we know of for a single-family residence in the country," said Barry Wall, owner of Rainwater Systems, Inc. "That tank can hold more than 51,000 gallons of water, and it all comes from the rain."

That product might sound preposterous in these dry conditions, but every droplet of condensation counts. Wall said the Majors' home draws enough moisture to ensure the family will never have to rely on well water for drinking, washing clothes and dishes, even bathing.

"The system we put in place filters the water perfectly with a UV light," Wall said. "There is a switch where they can use well water instead of the rain water, but they only need that for things like lawn watering. But there's so much water in that tank, they can easily wash their car regularly and still not run out."

And the Majors do just that. The water from the tank leaves no spots behind on the car. The filtration system purifies the water beyond anything drawn from a well, in addition to the fact that rain water is already cleaner to begin with, according to Wall.

Majors said, within the first few days of living in his home, his family noticed the difference in the water.

"It tastes better, and you want to wash your hair in it," Majors said. "You're excited to put your clothes on after a wash, because they feel so much softer."

Wall said he has installed several hundred similar systems across the nation during his four years in business. While most are located within the Texas Hill Country, some of his systems have gone up as part of charity work in poverty-stricken places like Haiti and parts of Mexico.

“It’s might seem expensive at first,” Wall explained, “but in the end, you’re going to be saving a lot of money. There is no water bill, and you’ll end up using less detergent and soap for washing and bathing. The water’s just that pure.”

Wall said the system averages between $15,000 to $20,000. The tin roof on top of Majors’ home and the gutters surrounding its edge collected more than 12,000 gallons of rainwater last week alone, which should be enough to last his family for several months. The renewable effort has led Wall to speak across the state, even at last year’s Renewable Energy Roundup in Fredericksburg, one of the largest “green” events of its kind in the U.S. Southwest. “If kids want to, they can even taste rainwater at the Roundup,” he said.

As wells around the Hill Country continue to dry up and force some residents to spend as much money as the rainwater system could cost. Wall encouraged those suffering in the drought to attend this week’s 10th annual event for ideas on how to battle the drought and the lagging economy at the same time. It runs Friday through Sunday.

 “Everyone’s looking to save a buck,” he said. “You don’t have to be a doctor to have a system like this. I install them for a lot of different people, a lot of people thankful they did the research and made this decision now.”

Original Article here