Texas Water Development Board accepts entries for Rain Catcher Award


By Justin Walker

Water conservation remains at the forefront for the Lone Star State, especially for those in agriculture.

To promote water conservation and new advancements in technology, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is currently accepting applications for the Texas Rain Catcher Award, which also recognizes excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems.

The program, which has been held annually since 2007, identifies individuals, companies and organizations from across Texas who have successfully implemented rainwater conservation practices into their daily operations, Peter Lake, TWDB chairman, said in an interview with the Texas Farm Bureau Radio Network.

“It’s also a great chance for various stakeholders around the state to demonstrate leadership and rainwater catchment and water conservation,” he said. “It takes folks stepping out there and demonstrating all that can be done to really show other folks there’s great progress to be made and great things we can to do help preserve our water resources.”

The contest is divided into several categories, including innovative water, rainwater technology and general conservation. The breadth and depths of projects stretch across residential, commercial, industrial and educational government.

The program has seen tremendous success across the state since its inception, Lake said. By highlighting the great ideas Texans have, rainwater harvesting systems have been enhanced statewide.

“It’s really helpful to see new technology put into place and its true efficiency demonstrated,” he said.

Promoting water conservation in Texas is vitally important, because water is an issue across the state, including in major cities.

“We’ve seen tremendous projects from elementary schools in Dallas to private residences in San Antonio, to utilities in the Hill Country,” Lake said. “Even BAE Systems here in Austin, which is a global, highly-sophisticated corporation, is using rainwater for non-potable needs such as irrigation around their campus, water chilling and toilet flushing.”

Rural Texas has also been recognized for efforts in water conservation in recent years, he said. In 2016, Terry County Farm Bureau member Glenn Martin’s project captured rainfall off his 20,000 square-foot barn.

“That much surface area can catch a lot of rain, and that goes a long way for their operation and their cost, and then also to help preserve the groundwater resources they’ve got in that area,” Lake said.

Highlighting these ideas and projects encourages others to expand their own practices, he noted.

“Anything we can do as citizens of Texas to capture that rainwater and make use of that and preserve groundwater and other water resources, goes a long way to advancing water resource management and water conservation in Texas,” he said.

The Rain Catcher Award program has been beneficial, Lake said.

“If we can get more folks to participate in the program, whether that’s helping expand education on water conservation, helping promote and demonstrate new technology or anything and everything in between,” he said. “Every little bit of that helps advance water conservation and helps improve the management of our water resources here in Texas.”

Entries for this year’s Rain Catcher Award are due Dec. 31 and can be submitted electronically via email at iwt@twdb.texas.gov or by mail.

Full details can be found on the TWDB website at www.twdb.texas.gov.

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