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Harvesting, harnessing rain
Firm wades into water conservation
Rain Harvest Systems 2 es
Demonstration systems are set up in the warehouse at RainHarvest Systems. - photo by Emily Saunders
Randy Kauk thought he was heading to South Africa on a mission trip to help residents plant gardens. He had no idea he would bring special technology back to Forsyth County.

“We planted gardens for people … that didn’t have any local water, so they had to use collected rainwater,” Kauk said. “That was on a small scale.

“On a larger scale, I thought it could be applied here. We have better equipment to work with to do that, and the principals are still the same.”

After research and conversations with industry experts, Kauk and Vice President Chris Giffen founded RainHarvest Systems LLC.

The business features items ranging from rain collecting barrels to complex underground irrigation systems. It also offers consultations and workshops on how to conserve water.

RainHarvest Systems has four accredited professionals who work with industrial, commercial and residential clients. In just one year, the business has acquired more than 2,000 clients.

Residential customers are the most popular, said Kauk, adding interest usually begins with a desire to be environmentally conscious.
“But it almost always works out that you can actually save some money doing it,” he said.

For RainHarvest Systems, conservation can be as simple as catching excess rainwater in a barrel.

But the company is equipped with tools that help clients store water for toilets, washing cars or pressure washing. Some systems collect into the “hundreds of thousands of gallons."

“We have underground tanks, above ground tanks and various filtration and pumps,” Kauk said.

Systems range from about $50 for a rain barrel to $5,000 for standard consumers, though Kauk said industrial merchandise can cost more. A 330 gallon above ground system is about $700, or about $2,800 for a 1,700-gallon system.

For homeowners, it’s a way to maintain landscape during drought conditions and water restrictions. A healthy lawn, coupled with an irrigation system could also help a home sell quicker or for a better price, Kauk said.

Jon Heard, director of the Cumming Utilities Department, said water conservation and innovative technology are part of the city’s message to customers.

“There’s a limited amount of water in the Chattahoochee/ Lake Lanier system, so as time goes on we’re going to have to be more creative with water conservation,” Heard said.

“It’s critical that we step up our conservation efforts, whether we’re a homeowner or a business owner. Everything we do today will make a positive impact on the future of this region.”

The city, which has experienced a decline in water sales, also has invested in technology to accommodate the area’s growth.
Conservation, Heard said, could prevent additional expenses.

“Conservation is a positive investment in the future, even though some revenue will be lost today,” he said.

RainHarvest Systems has also ventured into teaching workshops for home and business owners or anyone interested in learning more about water conservation. Classes can be informational or can lead to becoming an accredited professional with the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association.

“People don’t understand rain harvesting yet in the United States,” Kauk said. “So wherever we can help, we offer advice and consultation, just so people can get the right system and make sure it works properly. That gives the industry a good name.”

E-mail Jennifer Sami at