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BCRAGD supports BMS water conservation program

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

As a part of its mandate to support education of the public on water issues, the Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District (BCRAGD) recently presented a grant to the Bandera Middle School. The grant will support the school's on-going water conservation program.
BCRAGD General Manager Dave Mauk presented the grant to the BISD board at their meeting Monday, Nov. 12.
BCRAGD will provide three 2500 gallon water tanks, a water filtration system and a pumping system to Bandera Middle School.
Principal Donald Tosh began the program last year when he noticed water dripping from the roof-top HVAC units down the school's gutter system. Tosh placed 5-gallon buckets at the bottom of the downspouts and discovered he could collect 200 gallons off the AC units in 24 hours.
That discovery led to administrators, teachers, students and support staff finding ways to collect more water and use it around the campus for landscape watering.
Tosh, working with Assistant Principal Dayle Heiner and BISD Maintenance Director Ed Barnes, hope to expand the program through the school's science and horticulture classes to water even more landscaping and gardens. They are eyeing a large fenced in patch of concrete and sparse grass in the back of the school as a site for expansion of the conservation program.
"We're planning to eventually grow all the plants needed by the school district, and possibly even have some for sale," said Tosh.
With the installation of the three collection tanks, that program will have every opportunity to expand. It will allow the school to collect thousands of gallons of rainwater in addition to the HVAC condensate. Work on the additional collection stations on the campus should begin after the first of the year.
In addition to the three storage tanks, BCRAGD will furnish the necessary pumps, pre-filtration systems and UV filters.
Mauk reported that newly elected County Commissioner Andy Wilkerson provided the tanks to the district at his cost. Wilkerson owns Alota Tanks of Bandera & the Hill Country, 2088 Highway 16 North. "I was glad to be able to do this for the school," said Wilkerson, who can provide rainwater collection tanks from 100 gallon capacity to 2500 gallons. His number is 210-379-8972.
Mauk was glad to get BCRAGD on board to support the school's project. "I saw what Mr. Tosh had started with his 5-gallon buckets and knew it was an opportunity for us to participate. If we can teach 'em while they're young [about water conservation] that'll be good."
Tosh said the school has also formed partnerships with the Native Plant Society and the Hill Country Alliance, a non-profit organization "dedicated to caring for the unique features of the Texas Hill Country for the benefit of future generations." Earlier this year, the HCA awarded BMS a $900 grant for the expansion of their conservation project.