Conservation Matters June 2014

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Rainwater harvesting soaking in

Rainwater harvesting soaking in

After a long dry period, many parts of the state have finally received some badly needed rain, and those with rainwater harvesting systems have been reaping the rewards of this belated gift from Mother Nature, said Texas A&M AgriLife water resources experts.

“Rainwater harvesting is a time-tested and effective means of water conservation and irrigation,” said Billy Kniffen, retired Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service statewide water resource specialist and past director of the American Rainwater Catchment Association.

“For years, AgriLife Extension and Texas A&M AgriLife Research personnel have been involved with rainwater harvesting projects, demonstrations and education throughout the state,” said John Smith, AgriLife Extension program specialist, College Station.

In Edinburg, Smith and the AgriLife Extension horticulturist for Hidalgo County, Barbara Storz, worked with World Birding Center manager Marisa Rodriguez on a rainwater harvesting system at the facility’s education center.

Another Texas A&M AgriLife effort geared toward educating people about water conservation is the WaterSense home at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Dallas. The home, completed in March of last year in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 and the City of Dallas Water Utilities, received a 2013 Texas Rain Catcher Award from the Texas Water Development Board.

“The Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center is to be commended for implementing new technology that promotes rainwater harvesting and the benefits of water conservation,” said board member Kathleen Jackson.

This facility is the first of its kind in North Texas to receive certification as a renovation project and the first WaterSense home to have a rainwater harvesting system as one of its water-saving features, said Clint Wolfe, AgriLife Research urban water programs manager for the center. The system provides an efficient alternative source of irrigation by using captured rainwater for landscaping.

Smith said publications on rainwater harvesting by Texas A&M System experts are available for a cost at the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Bookstore website, agrilifebookstore.org. Enter the word “rainwater” into the search field on the home page.     

Additional information on rainwater harvesting, events and training can be found at rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu. Texas residents wanting to know about a rainwater harvesting program in their area may also contact the AgriLife Extension office in their county.

For more information about Texas A&M AgriLife rainwater activities, read the full AgriLife TODAY news release.

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