Spicewood company fills niche in Central Texas rainwater harvesting needs

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Zak Crosby, owner and operator of Tall Drink Rainwater Harvesting, said once the public uses rainwater, it will never want to use well water or city water again.

“Rainwater tastes better than any water you can get,” he said. “And once you bathe in it, taste it, wash your clothes in it, you will never want anything beside rainwater for the rest of your life. It’s hands down the very best quality of water. Once the system is in, your return on investment is limitless.”

Zak Crosby founded Spicewood's Tall Drink Rainwater Harvesting in 2013.

Zak Crosby founded Spicewood’s Tall Drink Rainwater Harvesting in 2013. (via )

Crosby’s Spicewood-based company, which was featured on an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters Renovation,” specializes in the design, installation and maintenance of rainwater-harvesting systems.

“[Rainwater harvesting] is the practice of collecting all the rainwater that falls on your roof and putting it into a cistern—a tank—and from that tank, distributing it to an end use, whether it be your gardens, your landscape, or filtering and disinfecting it and bringing it into the house for your family use,” Crosby said.

Rainwater is a great alternative to well water, Crosby said, because it is naturally soft and requires little treatment before its end use.

Crosby said the business attracts mostly customers in rural areas, such as Spicewood and Dripping Springs, who want to install full rainwater-catchment systems as their primary water source. These systems start at around $25,000, he said.

“One thousand square feet of catchment surface—usually meaning the roof—will garner 600 gallons of stored water per 1 inch of rainfall,” Crosby said.”

Crosby and an associate have developed tools to aid in rainwater harvesting.

Crosby and an associate have developed tools to aid in rainwater harvesting. (via )

Crosby’s foray into rainwater harvesting began as a side gig. After building a home in Spicewood, he said he starting making rainwater barrels in 2007 to use for his garden. Crosby, who worked as a flight attendant for 18 years, said he began selling the barrels he created as a way to make extra money before his son was born in 2012.

“After the first few of those first [milestones]that I missed with my son when he was a baby, being gone for work, it was just too hard for me,” Crosby said.

He founded Tall Drink in 2013, and last year Crosby became accredited by the American Rainwater Catchment System Association, meaning Tall Drink’s systems achieved a high competence level.

“Austin is kind of ahead of the curve when it comes to conservation issues and water conservation. So that’s great for business,” he said. “Tall Drink is ahead of the game when it comes to product development and resource management.

“It’s an exciting time.”

Helping westlake runoff

As Austin continues to grow, residents are getting squeezed into smaller places where, in areas like Westlake, they’re buying property with an old structure, tearing it down, and building a larger house, said Zak Crosby, owner of Tall Drink Rainwater Harvesting. .

These property owners encounter impervious cover restrictions, where the building is taking up too much space to be able to handle stormwater runoff, he said.

Most of Crosby’s rainwater-harvesting projects in Westlake have been impervious cover solutions in which the resident has to catch a certain percentage of rainwater, hold it, and then slowly drain it back to within the property in order to obtain a permit to occupy the building, he said.

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