AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) – After one of the hottest years on record, Rainwater Tech, an Austin-based company, is hoping to bring weather controlling technology to the United States. The company has been using the tech in the Middle East and Australia for 10 years.

“We have a real imbalance of where the water is falling, it’s falling in areas that already have enough water, we need it to redistribute to the areas that need water most,” said Rainwater Tech CEO Mike Nefkins.

The company produces rain by using large antenna or towers. “What we do is basically produce an ion plume that goes up into the atmosphere attaches to the cloud nuclei, and enhances rain.”

The theory is that by having the added ion, the rain drops in the cloud can grow larger, fall and survive the trip to the ground. According to Nefkins, the towers “turbocharge” the water cycle.

According to Nefkins, their technology can enhance rain by 10% to 20%.

“I wish we had a technology that would generate rain from blue skies but that doesn’t exist and I don’t think it ever will, personally,” Nefkins said.

Cloud seeding, a similar experiment that has been used in the past, uses planes to spray silver iodide into a cloud.

Does weather controlling tech actually work?

One of the major criticisms of rain producing technology is whether its actually working or not.

“The problem with any sort of weather modification, is it’s very difficult to identify the efficacy of such a system,” said Dev Niyogi, the William Stamps Farish Chair in Geology at the University of Texas in Austin. Niyogi specializes in studying rainfall and what influences it.

According to Niyogi, tracking if this tech works is challenging. Users can’t be sure if the technology is causing rain to fall or if it was going to fall already.

Additionally, Niyogi warns of unintended consequences.

Rainwater Tech, an Austin-based company, has created towers that are capable of supercharging clouds and producing rain. (Courtesy: Rainwater Tech)

Nefkins said that their technology doesn’t disrupt the water cycle, only supercharges it. “Our atmospheric scientists have been very clear telling us that the water cycle is continuously churning. So there’s really no impact.”

Nefkins said that this means that by making it rain at Lake Travis, that doesn’t rob another area of rain.

Niyogi is a little more skeptical of the technology and potential legal ramifications.

“If you already have water wars coming because a river water, what if tomorrow, we are going to create cloud wars that you took my cloud or you took my rain.”

Making it rain in the USA

Rainwater Tech is planning to bring their technology to the United States soon. One of the areas they’re hoping to target in Lake Travis near Austin.

The lake hasn’t been consistently full in years. It also supplies most of the drinking water for Austin.

“For Lake Travis, it would be probably three antennas. So we can capture weather coming from the Northwest. We can capture weather in the summer coming from the south” Nefkins said.

The towers can be purchased by a municipality or organization. There isn’t an upfront cost. Instead users will pay a monthly fee.