LCRA awards $5,000 grant for rainwater harvesting project in downtown Kerrville

New system will use rainwater to meet water needs in historic Guthrie Building

Nov. 17, 2023

Lower Colorado River Authority representatives present a $5,000 grant to the Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country for a rainwater harvesting system. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Carol Freeman, LCRA Board member; Austin Dickson, Community Foundation chief executive officer; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter and Michael L. “Mike” Allen, LCRA Board members; and Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.

KERRVILLE, Texas – A $5,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority will help install a rainwater harvesting system at the Guthrie Building in downtown Kerrville to meet the building’s water needs and promote rainwater harvesting in the area. The Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country, a charitable foundation headquartered in the 136-year-old Guthrie Building, financially supports more than 175 nonprofit organizations throughout the Hill Country each year. Thanks to the Community Development Partnership Program grant from LCRA, the Community Foundation soon will be able to meet the water needs of its office and irrigate an outdoor garden, all with rainwater. “In these drought conditions, the importance of rainwater harvesting has become more and more apparent,” said Austin Dickson, the Community Foundation’s chief executive officer. “When we renovated the Guthrie Building in early 2023, we wanted to add a rainwater catchment component to not only be good environmental stewards, but also to show off best water conservation practices for visitors and passersby. “We’re so thrilled to have the support of LCRA for this project,” Dickson added. “The rainwater catchment system is beyond the scope of our building improvement budget, so the grant made this project come to life.” With 15-inch-thick walls made of limestone, the Guthrie Building has been in continuous use since 1887. It housed a newspaper, a hotel, Kerrville City Hall and a photography studio before the Community Foundation settled in three years ago. The rainwater harvesting system will include rain gutters and screens, a pump and a 110-gallon storage tank. A Kerrville architect designed the tank to match the look of the historic building. “Every rainstorm generates sufficient water for the Community Foundation’s water needs, and yet without the harvesting system, it’s been a lost opportunity to conserve,” Dickson said. “We believe more businesses in historic buildings need to see examples of water conservation, especially in rural, drought-prone communities. Now, our rainwater system will serve as a model for how a modest environmental project can have a huge impact.”

The community grant is one of 45 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission 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 in January. More information is available at

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.

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