Basic Design
Donald Mahan

     The design is based on my experience over a seven year period when our guzzler never went dry. Area to collect water should be about 360 square feet. This works out to be an area 12 ft by 30 ft. Framing for the roof will be made of 2x8 wood around the perimeter and 2x6 wood roof trusses.  Attach roof trusses to perimeter with hurricane clips. Reinforce the corners connections with angle iron. Roof trusses on 2 ft centers.  Support the roof with 4x4 wood posts cemented into the soil or rock. Use 10 support posts. Bolt the supports to the perimeter framing. Attach roof tin to trusses with metal screws. Try to locate guzzler and water storage tank in an area where it is not visible from the road. This is to prevent road hunters and poachers from using it as a hunting area.

     This construction is heavy, but it will withstand the heavy winds in the Terlingua Ranch area. Three cabins near me have had their  roofs blown away. One time the ranch manger (Neil Burch) called my wife and told her that our cabin had blown down. He was mistaken, as a nearby (1/4 mile) cabin had been blown away. 

     From the roof the water will be collected with a vinyl gutter and then diverted thru a 3 inch diameter PVC pipe to a 1,550 gallon black plastic water tank. A clear plastic tank must be painted to prevent slime/algae growth. The tank should have a closed top with a breather to allow only air/water vapor in or out when filling or emptying. This prevents evaporation. Seal fill line entrance into storage tank with good quality silicon caulk. The fill line should go to the bottom of the tank and be notched. The tank should sit on a solid foundation and tied down with steel cables. A concrete pad should be made if soil in area is soft. Tank weight with water (6.5 tons) when full, can cause settlement and breakage of discharge piping. From the tank run 1/2 inch plastic pipe to the watering trough with a float valve. This line should be buried to keep javelinas and deer from eating it. Also this will prevent the line from freezing. Bury the watering trough to ground level. Cover 50% of the top of the trough with a heavy board & large rocks to protect the float valve from javelinas. See photos.

Prices from Lowes in Houston, November 10, 2001






15 sheets 12 ft length $       11.30 $    169.50
Wood: 2 boards 2x8x12 8.82 17.64
4 boards 2x8x16 12.98 51.92
19 boards 2x6x12 5.42 102.98
5 boards 4x4x10 9.55 47.75
Storage Tank (At Johnsons, Alpine, TX
        (Tax included.)
1 black plastic 1,550 gallons 656.51
Concrete 10 bags Quickcrete 2.37 23.70
Gutter System 3 gutters 10 ft length 3.00 9.00

2 end

3.37 6.75

10 support brackets

2.27 22.70
1 downspout connector 4.94 4.94

2 gutter connectors

2.91 5.82
PVC Pipe (Gutter to tank)
6 - 10 ft  3in dia pipe 3.57 21.42
2 elbows .95 1.90
Silicon Caulk One tube 5.00 5.00
PVC Tubing (From tank to
50 ft 1/2 inch 25.67 25.67
2 ss clamps .85 1.70
Galvanized Trough 1 10 gallon 9.95 9.95
Float valve, Pipe Fittings, Nails, Screws, Bolts, Nuts, Hurricane Clips, Angle braces
steel cable, etc.
1 lot 75.00
Two Buckets of Sweat PRICELESS


$ 1,259.84

additional state tax @ 8%



$ 1,308.11

**This cost is based on all new material. Usage of surplus/used tin, second hand wood and used tank could reduce this cost more than 50%.


My design does not have a inverted roof and our tank is much smaller than the state guzzler (about 3000 gallons) near our cabin. This state guzzler is not operating due to settlement of the tank which has broken the discharge piping.


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