Taking a Rain Check on City Water Use

New cistern at The Shops at La Palmera making good use of collected rainwater

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (January 27, 2015) – Every cloud has a silver lining for The Shops at La Palmera, particularly when those clouds hold rain.

A 5,300-gallon cistern located between T.J. Maxx and Big Lots now collects runoff rainwater for landscape irrigation, allowing The Shops at La Palmera to offset its use of municipal water. A full cistern provides one week’s worth of watering.

“This is our latest effort to conserve water, complementing what we already do at La Palmera,” said Fred Walters, general manager of La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera. “It only makes sense to utilize this type of technology, which is really just a new spin on the old fashioned rain barrel. It allows us to collect what would otherwise be runoff and put it to good use. As far as we know, this is the first commercial cistern system in the Coastal Bend region.”

Made of corrugated galvanized steel, with a geo-textile pre-liner and PVC liner system, the tank stores runoff rainwater flowing from the building with the largest roof surface area, approximately 74,200 square feet. The water is filtered for sediment as it flows off the roof through a downspout into the tank, which is connected with a pump to the irrigation system. Spec-All Products, Inc., of Austin handled the installation.

“SAP has experience with commercial grade systems, installing galvanized tanks for rainwater collection across the country since 203, but primarily operate in Texas and New Mexico,” said Peyton Shipman, general manager of Spec-All Products. “In the years prior to that, we specialized in building wooden tanks, which were the norm for storage throughout history. Commercial use is what sparked the move to the steel, which is obviously lower maintenance than wood. Although we install cisterns for existing developments like The Shops at La Palmera, we are also seeing a trend of developers including cisterns in their plans for new projects.”

Although there are many variables affecting the amount of rainwater actually collected at any given time, the general rule of thumb is approximately 600-650 gallons for every 1,000 square feet of collection area based on a 1-inch rainfall. The National Weather Service (NOAA) website lists 2014 Corpus Christi rainfall at 29.36 inches.

“We utilize native plants in our landscaping for both The Shops at La Palmera as well as La Palmera to cut down on water usage,” said Walters. “As long as Mother Nature cooperates from time to time allowing us to fill our cistern, we will be able to save even more.”

Following the completion of its two-year redevelopment in 2010, La Palmera was awarded LEED® Silver for Core and Shell 2.0 established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the first mall to receive the prestigious recognition. The mall also incorporates a number of water saving methods.

  • La Palmera saves nearly 3,000 gallons of water each day by having high-efficiency fixtures, which is enough water saved to fill up 100 bathtubs a day. That’s roughly a 46% reduction in water use through the use of high-efficiency lavatory faucets, urinals, and toilets.
  • The fountain in Center Court re-circulates 1,000 gallons of water approximately 28 times every day.
  • By using native and adapted plants, drip irrigation for all areas except lawns, and automated controllers with rain and freeze sensors, La Palmera uses about 50% less water for irrigation than standard developments of this size. That’s saving an average of 356 gallons a day.

For more information on the La Palmera Shopping District, including La Palmera and The Shops at La Palmera, go online to www.lapalmera.com, visit us on Facebook, or call (361) 991-3755.


The Shops at La Palmera is a 230,602-square-foot outdoor center located in Corpus Christi, Texas. The Shops at La Palmera features more than 20 local and national retail and dining options, including Dick’s Sporting Goods, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, Jared The Galleria of Jewelry, DSW, Destination XL, dressbarn, Corner Bakery Café and Chipotle Mexican Grill. Purchased in April 2012 by Trademark Property Company and joint venture partner Institutional Mall Investors LLC (IMI), the center is located directly across from Trademark’s La Palmera mall. For more information, go to www.theshopsatlapalmera.com.


Spec-All Products, Inc. is a Texas-based distributor of CorGal water storage tanks serving Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Oklahoma and Louisiana. SAP is also a commercial construction company selling and building liquid storage tanks, material storage bins, grain bins, steel enclosures and other special projects. We also develop, design and construct towers with tanks for signage or elevated storage of materials. For more information, go to http://specallproducts.com/index.html