LCRA awards $15,200 grant to help boost firefighting efforts in Llano County

New rainwater collection system will help Sunrise Beach VFD refill firetrucks quicker, improve conservation efforts

May 27, 2020

LLANO COUNTY, Texas – A $15,200 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will enable the Sunrise Beach Volunteer Fire Department to purchase a rainwater collection system that will aid firefighting efforts.

The grant will be paired with matching funds of $6,898 provided by the department, which serves the residents of Sunrise Beach and neighboring communities in Llano County. The project will add a rainwater collection system to the 3,500-square-foot roof of Station No. 1 and funnel the rainwater it collects into a new 13,800-gallon storage tank. From there, the water will be transferred to firefighting vehicles as needed.

Jim Miller, past president of the Sunrise Beach VFD board, said an inch of rain will yield about 2,000 gallons of water for firefighting and training efforts. The department’s fleet includes two engines, a tanker and two brush trucks.

“I guess it was about two years ago when this idea popped into our heads,” Miller said. “Everybody’s excited about this grant from LCRA. We’re really wanting to get this project going.”

The new storage tank will hold a mix of about 40% collected rainwater and about 60% city-supplied water, Miller said. A higher-volume pump will refill the department’s trucks at the improved rate of 300 gallons per minute, which will mean firefighters can get on the road to emergencies more quickly.

Sunrise Beach VFD now uses water drawn from Lake LBJ and city-supplied water for firefighting. The addition of the rainwater collection system will reduce the department’s costs for treated city water and help conserve water in Lake LBJ, Miller said. 

By lowering its water usage costs, Sunrise Beach VFD can direct more money toward firefighting operations and supplies for first responders.

“This system will benefit us in mutual-aid situations,” said Miller, who’s also the chief of maintenance for Sunrise Beach VFD. “We’re going to have a constant, steady supply of water, and other nearby departments will be able to fill at the same place.”

The community grant is one of 28 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which 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.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-31. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.

About LCRA
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 outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.

Media Contact
Clara Tuma
512–578–3292
clara.tuma@lcra.org