LCRA, Bandera Electric Co-op award $19,320 grant to Utopia Volunteer Fire and Rescue


New rainwater catchment system will provide additional water supply for firefighting

LCRA and Bandera Electric Cooperative representatives present a $19,320 grant to Utopia Volunteer Fire and Rescue for a rainwater catchment system. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Kati Fitzpatrick, BEC communications specialist; Callie Cargile, BEC marketing specialist; Robert “Bob” Hanus, firefighter and Utopia Volunteer EMS emergency medical technician; Patrick Killough, fire and rescue secretary, firefighter and EMT; James Trotti, fire chief and paramedic; Margaret D. “Meg” Voelter and Carol Freeman, LCRA Board members; Charity Huber, BEC marketing and communications manager; Douglas “Doug” Carlyle, Utopia Volunteer EMS board president and paramedic; Hannah Culak, BEC marketing design specialist; Jules Casburn, Utopia Volunteer EMS board vice president and EMT; and Kate Ramzinski, LCRA Regional Affairs representative.
UVALDE COUNTY, Texas – Utopia Volunteer Fire and Rescue will install a rainwater catchment system and storage tank at the fire station and attached community building, thanks to a $19,320 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Bandera Electric Cooperative.

The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $4,830 in matching funds from Utopia Volunteer Fire and Rescue, will provide the department with an additional water source for fighting fires.

“We currently rely on the Utopia Water Supply Company for our water,” said James Trotti, Utopia Volunteer Fire and Rescue fire chief. “In recent years, we have experienced major droughts, causing water restrictions to be put in place. Having a water catchment system will allow us to harvest and use rainwater, which will help alleviate the strain on the community water system.”

Gutters will be added onto the fire station and community building to catch rainwater and funnel it into a 3,000-gallon water storage tank that will be placed behind the community building, making it easy for firetrucks to fill up quickly.

“Having a secure water source to fight fires for our neighbors and the communities we serve will make a difference and could help us respond more quickly to major fires,” Trotti said.

The tank will be gravity fed and will not require any electricity. In the future, the department looks to expand the project by purchasing more tanks to increase the amount of on-site water storage.

Utopia Volunteer Fire and Rescue serves Bandera, Medina, Real and Uvalde counties and provides mutual aid to the Concan, Leakey, Sabinal, Tarpley and Vanderpool volunteer fire departments.

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. Bandera Electric Cooperative is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.

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.

Contact Info

Clara Tuma, Public Information Officer
[email protected]
After hours: 512-944-6719