Because every drop counts!
I started getting interested in rainwater collection a few years ago (during a serious drought here in Central Texas) but didn't follow through with the idea other than reading a few books and articles on the subject. I guess the drought-breaking rains we finally got lulled me into a false sense of security. The drought conditions of 2006, combined with the rapid population growth in Hays County, brought the seriousness of the water situation back into focus. In 2006 there were reports of individual wells going dry in the Dripping Springs area (about 10 miles as the crow flies from my home) and several subdivisions were having problems with their central water systems. The local politicians didn't seem to have much interest in limiting the growth or pushing conservation until the situation got really serious and people started asking questions (and then all they did was stick up a few signs encouraging us to conserve water). I decided it was time to take some personal action.
My first inclination was to buy a sizable polyethylene tank and just buy water when I needed it. My rationale was that at 70 years old there was no way I could recoup the cost of a real rainwater collection system in my lifetime. A little research convinced me that buying water put me at the mercy of the market and, at the time, you had to stand in line for a week or so just to get a delivery. I finally convinced myself that going with a full-blown system was not out of the question and started researching the cost involved. Peace of mind had a lot to do with my decision. There's a lot of information on rainwater collection on the Internet. One of the best sources turned out to be home grown: The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting. It has been an invaluable source of basic information on all phases of rainwater collection. Another was the book written by Suzy Banks and Richard Heinichen: Rainwater Collection for the Mechanically Challenged, a real "been there, done that" guide. I had bought the video version at a seminar a few years ago but I do not see it currently available on the Tank Town website but the book is listed on Amazon. Manufacturers brochures and manuals are another good source of information as long as you can separate the facts from the sales hype.
The photo above is an overall view of the storage side of the system. The large tank is a 10,000 gallon fiberglass tank purchased from L.F. Manufacturing in Giddings, Texas. The small tank to the left is the first flush diverter. Read more ...