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BHS students receive Rain Catcher Award

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

Photo courtesy TWDB
Carlos Rubenstein, Texas Water Development Board member; Brad Flink, Bandera High School building trades teacher; BHS students Jamison Landolt, Jonathon Skipper, Greg Macias, Matt King, Wyatt Clemenson, and Rachel Barker; TWDB members Kathleen Jackson and Bech Bruun celebrate receiving the 2013 Rain Catcher Award in Austin on May 1.

The Texas Water Development Board presented its 2013 Rain Catcher Awards in Austin on Thursday, May 1, and students from Bandera High School were among the proud recipients. For the 2013 Texas Rain Catcher Award, one winner is selected for each of several categories. BHS won in the Educational Category.
Between 2011 and 2013, students in the building trades, drafting and agricultural mechanics classes at BHS built two 42,000-gallon concrete tanks to capture water running off the 60,000 square feet faculty parking lot to irrigate the onsite baseball field. The students also built a pump house and installed the piping to connect the tanks to the existing sprinkler system at the field.
"Our two tanks can hold 84,000 gallons," said building trades teacher Brad Flink. "In 2013 Bandera had 22 inches of rainfall. We caught about a half a million gallons. That amounts to approximately 5 percent of the high school's yearly pumping from the Lower Trinity Aquifer.
"The students supplied the labor and local foundations provided over $55,000 for the materials," said Flink. "Our students got to experience a real construction project and conserve water at the same time."
Grants from the Hal and Charlie Peterson Foundation, the Lower Colorado River Authority Community Development Partnership Program and the Bandera Independent School District's Education Foundation, along with contributions from local businesses, funded the projects. The students provided all the labor during class time.
The system has been in operation since May 2012.
The Rain Catcher Award competition began in July 2007 as a way for TWDB to promote rainwater harvesting in the state, educate the public about the benefits and advantages of rainwater harvesting and recognize individuals and entities dedicated to the cause of managing precious water resources.
The competition is open to all individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities and other local and state governmental entities in Texas. Winners are chosen by a panel of judges consisting of TWDB staff and outside experts.
As the state's lead agency for rainwater harvesting, TWDB provides information and education to the public on all aspects of rainwater harvesting through the board's website and with printed materials. For example, The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting (third edition, 2005), a popular guide published by the TWDB, provides an introduction to rainwater harvesting and to designing residential and small-scale commercial systems.
Depending on the availability of funds, the TWDB also provides limited financial support (grants) for rainwater harvesting research studies. TWDB is also required to make rainwater harvesting training available to permitting staff of certain cities and counties.
Since the inception of the Texas Rain Catcher Award program in 2007, TWDB has recognized 22 entities and one individual.
Other winners for 2013 were: Governmental - City of Pflugerville, rain barrel sale and catchment tank for a fountain at the library; Residential - San Saba Senior Center, a water catchment system to irrigate an educational garden; Nonprofit/Research - Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center Dallas, the first retrofitted WaterSense® labeled home in Texas which serves as a demonstration project for homeowners who are considering remodeling their homes to become more eco-friendly.