Rainwater Harvesting Interests Grows As Drought Continues
Scattered thunderstorms in Central Texas brought rain to Austin. The Hill Country could get an even better soaking and many people there will be happy to see it.
“We’ve got so many people who are drawing groundwater,” he said. ” Then their wells start going dry and then they have to worry about that sort of thing, so they will install a rainwater system to supplement their well.”
Wheeler said he’s had to truck water in once this year because of the drought. It costs around a $100 to buy 2,000 gallons of water. On average, that would last one person about two weeks. Standing near his demo, Wheeler says the drought increases interest in his rainwater filters.
“In spite of the fact that it is a negative, I think it’s kind of a postivie because in our society we are three generations away from people worrying about their water,” Wheeler said. He believes the drought has made people more aware of what he calls a “precious resource.”
An average rainwater collection system for a home would cost roughly $10,000.
This past legislative session, lawmakers decided that all new large state buildings would use an attached rainwater collection system. Another bill allowed county governments to use public money for rainwater incentives.
Karen Ford is a former Hays County Commissioner. She organized this year’s Rainwater Revival Festival. She said there’s a pool of money collected from LCRA water line fees.
“I think it would be a great idea to turn around and use that money for rebates or for incentives for folks to help put them over the edge to select rainwater instead of a groundwater,” Ford said.
Most residents in Hay County are under Stage Three Drought Restrictions. A 30 percent reduction in water use is required.
Residents in Round Rock and Georgetown are also under strict water restrictions. All outdoor watering has been banned for about two weeks until water station pumps that draw water from a lake reservoir can be repaired.