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Rainwater harvesting conserves groundwater

Special to the Courier

Bandera County residents rely heavily on groundwater from aquifers for the survival of their household and ranching operations. However, the aquifers under Bandera County that supply the groundwater recharge very slowly after rains. Ultimately, this means that the resource is being used faster than the aquifer is recharging naturally.
The situation then becomes one of non-sustainability for a resource that’s already non-renewable. During droughts, more groundwater is pumped from wells for livestock, gardens and wildlife, further stressing the aquifers.
Fortunately, options are available that allow access to water without pumping it from the aquifers. One successful method is rainwater harvesting.
The process is simple. Rainwater falls onto a roof, runs off into its gutters and eventually down into tanks or cisterns, allowing the captured water to be utilized rather than groundwater. This process is especially beneficial during periods of little or no rain.
Rainfall events are obviously a limiting factor. Increasing roof area to capture the rainfall and increasing storage capacity for the captured rainfall can lessen the limitation. This way the system can capture and store a larger amount of the rain, resulting in the “most bang for the buck.”
The Bandera County River Authority and Groundwater District, 440 FM 3240, has rainwater harvesting manuals and resource-heavy literature about the process available to the general public. For electronic copies of these resources, email dmauk@bcragd.org or mayers@bcragd.org. BCRAGD telephone is 830-796-7260.
“Every Bandera County landowner is urged to explore the possibility of utilizing rainwater harvesting to augment water usage and conserve groundwater resources,” said Jeff Jilson, BCRAGD operations manager.