Ruidoso couple collects rain water for drinking

Posted at: 08/16/2013 9:38 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexicans are pretty good at making the most of what nature gives them.  Take, for example, The McNeils in Ruidoso.

Like all of us, they love the rain.  There’s one difference, the McNeils drink the rain.

Tom and Judy McNeil said they have always recycled.

"Now Judy will tell you that I do things to the extreme," said Tom McNeil.

Welcome to the McNeils extreme recycling plan.  When they started having some health problems, they decided to take control of the water they drink.

“We decided to go with the better source of water which is good old Mother Nature," said Tom McNeil.

The McNeils catch the rain on their roof then gutter it into these 3,000 gallon holding tanks in their yard.

There is a filter system under the house.

McNeil said in the past three weeks they have collected 19,000 gallons of rainwater and are hoping to make it last.

“A couple more rains, we’re going to have our tanks full which at 21,000 gallons will give us a years’ worth of water,” said Judy McNeil.

The McNeils hooked up their whole house to the system, so they can get fresh rainwater from the fridge.  The couple only uses the village water for plumbing and backup.

"If it doesn't rain I have the system designed and hooked up to where I can go back to the city water permanently on the house and purify it myself,” said Tom McNeil.

Tom McNeil said they’re happy drinking from the sky.

"It’s a good feeling to know that we've got some really good quality water,” said Tom McNeil.

The McNeils tell KOB Eyewitness News 4 they first started noticing health problems after the Little Bear Fire.  They were concerned about water contamination.  That’s when they first started working on their rain project.