Rainwater Harvesting Coming Soon to WCC

Media Contact: Julia Stanford, jstanford@northplainsgcd.org or 806-935-6401

The northern Texas Panhandle receives an average of 15-20 inches of precipitation each year. Supplementing groundwater with captured rainwater can help reduce a household or business’ impact on the Ogallala aquifer. Next year, residents in the North Plains Groundwater Conservation District will be able to see rainwater catchment, storage, and application in action at the North Plains Water Conservation Center (WCC) just north of Dumas, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The project will include a rainwater harvesting system to supply irrigation for a new water-wise xeriscape garden.

Promotion of rainwater harvesting is in the district’s management plan as a method to reduce reliance upon groundwater, and the district has been hosting rainwater harvesting classes on a regular basis since 2009. The North Plains Rainwater Harvesting Demonstration will allow the district to provide the public with hands-on learning opportunities as they explore the design of the rainwater harvesting system. Seeing real-world examples of rainwater harvesting and water-saving landscape renovations may give individuals more confidence to tackle similar projects of their own.

After designing the full rainwater harvesting system, district staff will adapt the gutters on the Richard S. Bowers Conservation Learning Center (the classroom building of the WCC) and install a cistern. In addition to serving as an educational model, the captured rainwater will be used to supplement (and hopefully replace) produced groundwater to sustain the surrounding landscape at the North Plains Water Conservation Center. The landscape irrigation system will be modified to use the stored rainwater instead of pumped groundwater, and the remainder of the funds will be used to implement a water-saving xeriscape garden with beautiful native flowers and shrubs that require very little water.

Since the Ogallala aquifer is a shared groundwater resource, everyone has a role in conservation of that resource. Educating the public on the benefits and strategies of rainwater harvesting and xeriscape gardening through this project will result in water conservation at the North Plains Water Conservation Center and hopefully throughout the region.