Rain Man
My Business – January 2004
By: Shannon Scully

Talking to Richard Heinichen makes you thirsty. The self-proclaimed mayor of Tank Town (www.rainwatercollection.com) is a man-made drinking water expert. Unable to tolerate the sulfur-smelling well water he found when he moved to the Texas Hill Country 13 years ago, Heinichen started collecting rainwater for use at home. After noticing the fiberglass tank he used to collect the rain, a neighbor asked him to help him install a similar system.

That was the first drop in the bucket of a business whose profits have poured in ever since. “Rainwater is the sweetest, most natural water on earth,” says Heinichen, who holds the first permit for bottling rainwater ever issued in the United States. “It has never touched the ground, and it’s softness can’t be reproduced.”

For the agua-challenged people who don’t want to install their own collection systems, Heinichen also sells bottled rainwater. “When I first got into the business, I was dealing with serious wackos, people who had conspiracy theories about public water supplies,” says Heinichen. “But now I’m dealing with well-educated people who understand the health benefits.”

To skeptics who wonder about the cleanliness of rainwater, Heinichen assures customers that the reverse osmosis method he uses rids the water of any inpurities. Take a sip for yourself, he says.