The Bandera Natural History Museum is installing a new rainwater catchment system to help educate visitors about rainwater harvesting and provide water for the museum's landscaping, thanks to a $25,000 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with more than $7,800 in matching contributions, will allow the museum to install two rainwater storage tanks and a demonstrative water feature. The largest tank, at 30,000 gallons, will include a pump and fire hose fittings so water can be distributed around the grounds and used in case of a fire on the property.
"We will use the two smaller demonstration areas for people who might want to start collecting and using rainwater in smaller ways," said Maggie Schumacher, director of operations. "Two decorative rain barrels will be placed on our patio and a solar-operated water feature will be placed in a flower garden."
During hot, dry periods, the museum will be able to maintain its native Texas landscape with water from the catchment system. Schumacher said the museum's roof of more than 8,000 square feet makes it an ideal property for a rainwater catchment system, and having the system will reduce damage from storms that overwhelm the storm drains and flood and erode the grounds.
"Watching rain come off the museum's roof made it clear to us that catching and using the water would be extremely beneficial," Schumacher said. "Educating our visitors and the community about the benefits of water catchment systems fits with our education and conservation mission. We are thrilled about receiving this grant from LCRA and BEC."
People from across Texas visit the museum, including many from Bexar, Comal, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr and Uvalde counties.
The community grant is one of a number of grants recently awarded through LCRA's Community Development Partnership Program. The program provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA's wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA's effort to give back to the communities it serves. BEC is one of LCRA's wholesale electric customers and a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-July 31. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit lcra.org.