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Rainwater Harvesting News and Events


News

October 10, 2014

Harvest that Rain!

Most food growers rely on tap water to keep their plants alive during dry weather, but gardeners are discovering that chemicals in tap water harm the soil organisms that plants depend upon to absorb nutrients. As a result, more and more gardeners are storing rainwater. Read more from Sustainable Food Center.

June 30, 2014

Rainwater harvesting communities find fertile ground in Hill Country

While traditional developers scramble for scarce water resources, sustainable development in the Hill Country is happening right under our noses. Several water-neutral projects incorporating rainwater harvesting systems are in progress and more are in the planning stages. With proper consideration and non-invasive infrastructure, the Hill Country gets enough rain even - in the worst drought year - to supply a home’s water needs. Local builder and The Hill Country Alliance’s own Paul Sumrall is featured in the following Austin American Statesman news story written by Andra Lin. Click here to read.

June 20, 2014

Rainwater harvesting: simple idea, big benefits

Installing a rainwater collection system costs about the same or less than drilling a well but offers multiple advantages, making it the more economical and environmentally-friendly choice in the long run. Most importantly, rainwater collection systems do not deplete underlying aquifers the way wells do, making them much more reliable sources of water. Read more from the Hondo Anvil Herald.

June 4, 2014

Rainwater harvesting ‘soaking in’ as way to conserve Texas’ water resources

After a long dry period, many parts of the state have finally received some badly needed rain, and those with rainwater harvesting systems have been reaping the rewards of this belated gift from Mother Nature, said Texas A&M AgriLife water resources experts. Read more

June 3, 2014

Three Hill Country Schools Win Rainwater Revival Grants to Fund Water Conservation Projects

Impressed by the quality of proposals for its rainwater harvesting and conservation grant program, the Hill Country Alliance is awarding three – instead of the planned two – $1,000 grants to Hill Country schools to help teachers and students design and implement water-saving techniques. Read more

May 28, 2014

Award-winning rainwater capture system crowning achievement of retiring Bandera High teacher

Congratulations to Brad Flink, who’s RWH project was honored by the Texas Water Development Board with its Texas Rain Catcher Award. HCA’s Rainwater Revival grant program provided support to document this project and create a model for other campuses. The stormwater retention and reuse system created by students is capable of holding 84,000 gallons for irrigating the Bulldogs' baseball field. Read morefrom Zeke MacCormak and the SA Express News.

May 13, 2014

San Marcos to offer rebates for rainwater harvest systems

The City of San Marcos Public Works Department is implementing a new program to help its customers conserve water. Through this program water customers can receive rebates for purchasing and installing rain barrels and large rainwater tank systems. Private home systems may qualify for up to $5,000, while commercial, institutional and multi-family systems may receive as much as $20,000 in rebates. Learn More

May 6, 2014

Bandera High School Among TWDB’s Texas Rain Catcher Award Winners

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced recently that Bandera High School is among the winners of its annual Texas Rain Catcher Award, a rainwater harvesting competition and recognition progpram. The award recognizes excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas, promotes the technology, and educates the public. Learn More

March 11, 2014

HCA’s Rainwater Revival calls for grant applications to fund water conservation and catchment programs at Hill Country schools

The Hill Country Alliance has set an April 30 deadline for local schools to apply for grants of up to $1,000 to develop or continue water catchment and conservation programs. The auction of “art barrels” during the Alliance’s annual Rainwater Revival, held in November, funds the grants. Learn more...

January 27, 2014

Chemical Spill in West Virginia shows the vulnerability of our water supplies

The disastrous chemical spill that contaminated West Virginia's water supply reinforced the value of harvesting rainwater to provide distributed sources of safe water. Read More

January 22, 2014

Hays County rainwater fund proposed

On January 21st the Hays County Commissioners Court discussed creation of a Hays County Rainwater Initiative Fund, the Hays “RAIN” Fund. The proposal authored by Commissioner Ray Whisenant would create a revolving loan fund that would be available to Hays County citizens for installation of systems to collect, store and use rainwater that would result in a reduction in the use of groundwater. Learn More

November 12, 2013

Sustainability focus of Rainwater Revival

“We’re dealing with so many water challenges in the state, particularly here in the Hill Country. There are a lot of unknowns like how to solve the complex water problems and rainwater harvesting is just a simple thing people can be doing to take the stress off of our aquifers.” Read the full Boerne Star article.

November 5, 2013

Rain Barrels: Living with Drought, Rain or Shine

It might have been a clear, crisp fall day in Boerne, but inside the Boerne Civic Center it was raining a solid schedule of rainwater harvesting information at the 4th annual Rainwater Revival. This Hill Country Alliance (HCA) event brought together a full day’s schedule of rainwater experts and professionals to teach and demonstrate a sure way to end all your water woes. Read the full story in the Rivard Report.

October 28 2013

Rainwater Revival Pitches its Tents in Boerne on Nov 2

Rainwater harvesting is part of the new water culture in Texas, especially in the Texas Hill Country where water is scarce and precious. On Saturday, November 2, the Rainwater Revival returns to the Boerne Civic Center where rain harvesting experts and practitioners will speak throughout the day in tandem with a variety of exhibitor and vendor tents, a live auction of artful rain barrels, the Raindrop Stop for kids, food trailers, music, and fun for the whole family. Learn More

September 26, 2013

American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association annual conference, November 5-7

Rainwater Harvesting as an Alternate Water Source will be the Focus of this Year's Annual Conference of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association. Learn More

July 16, 2013

City of Round Rock: Collect rain water, get paid

For Round Rock resident Sean Barber, the two rain water collection tanks in his backyard are turning out to be his friend. Tired of seeing rain water wasted, Barber joined the city's harvesting rebate program. Under the city's program, which began June 1, people who install rain collection tanks like Barber's will be paid 50 cents per gallon of water collected with a maximum rebate of $250 a year per customer. Learn more from KVUE.

July 3, 2013

How to Build a Rainwater Harvesting System

AgriLife will be hosting a workshop on rainwater harvesting Aug. 17 in Austin. A comprehensive rainwater harvesting discussion will be led by Ed Parken, Travis County Master Gardener and rainwater harvesting specialist, and Dick Peterson, who served the city of Austin for 14 years as coordinator of xeriscape and rainwater programs. Details

Discounted Rain barrels though CCGCD

If you’ve been wishing for a rain barrel, the Cow Creek Groundwater Conservation District is having a rain barrel distribution on July 27th at the Kendall County Court House in Boerne. Special discounted prices include shipping to the pick-up site. Learn more and pre-order your barrels here.

May 31, 2013

Texas rainwater harvesting at a crossroads - a town hall meeting, June 15

H.B. 2062 as introduced could have set rainwater harvesting back ten years. But because of the dedicated work of a small group of rainwater professionals, the worst of H.B. 2062 (for the rainwater community) appears to have been struck. Next time could be different – very different, and very bad. A forum has been scheduled to begin organizing for effective, pro-active, rainwater harvesting advocacy in the interests of consumers, installers, manufacturers, vendors and municipalities. Details

May 20, 2013

City of San Marcos offers a limited time rebate on Rain Barrels

The City of San Marcos is partnering with RainWater Solutions to offer water-conserving rain barrels at an exceptional price. For a limited time the 50 gallon “Ivy” rain barrels are available for $67 each. City of San Marcos water customers are eligible for a 50% rebate, bringing total cost to only $33.50 each. Buyers do not have to be a San Marcos resident of San Marcos to purchase the barrels, but only City water customers are eligible for the rebate. Learn More

May 6, 2013

Texas Rainwater Catchment Association Conference this weekend in San Marcos

The TRWCA Annual Conference will be held all day Friday and Saturday, May 10–11 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in San Marcos. HCA will have a booth promoting our Rainwater Revival event – Come on by and see us! Learn More

March 12, 2013

Judge rules in favor of the Aransas Project in whooping crane case

The Court issued an order preventing the TCEQ from approving or granting new water permits affecting the Guadalupe or San Antonio Rivers “until the State of Texas provides reasonable assurances to the Court” that new permits would not result in harm to the whooping cranes. Learn More

Catching water from the sky

Water conservation has become a hot-button issue as water becomes more expensive and scarcer, especially during times of drought. Restrictions on landscape watering are common during the hotter months, and the (San Antonio) city council recently approved an 8.4 percent rate increase that SAWS requested. But customers who install catchment systems develop habits that reduce water usage, said Jim Champion of San Antonio-based Texas Rainfall Catchment. “Even with the smallest system, people gain new, better habits about using water,” he said. “They become more conscious of their water use.” Read more from SA Express-News

January 16, 2013

Rainwater Revival Sets Grant Application Deadline for Hill Country Schools

Hill Country schools in 17 counties are now eligible to apply for grants funded by professionally painted “art rain barrels” auctioned at the highly successful 2012 Rainwater Revival, held in Boerne in October. Learn More

December 9, 2012

Water Conservation Matters – even with no drought

What Mike says to San Angelo can apply throughout the Hill Country, “If San Angelo and the region are to continue to survive and prosper economically and if Texas is to be sustainable with its limited water resources, then residents must learn to conserve water all the time — not just in drought situations." Learn More

November 21, 2012

TWDB Accepting Applications for the 2012 Texas Rain Catcher Award

Applications are being accepted for the 2012 Texas Rain Catcher Award. The Texas Water Development Board holds the annual competition to promote the technology, educate the public in the practice of harvesting rainwater, and recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas. The competition is open to all individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, and local and state governmental entities in Texas. The deadline for submitting an entry is December 31. Learn More

September 5, 2012

Schools Receive Grants to Advance Conservation Education

Two Austin schools – J.J. Pickle Elementary and Eden Park Academy – are receiving financial assistance to help conserve water resources at their schools and teach students about the value of water conservation. Both schools have been awarded grants by the Rainwater Revival, an annual event that brings together water conservation experts and the public. Learn More

July 30, 2012

Save It for a Sunny Day

Hard-packed, fractured stretches of bone-dry earth and pale, cloudless skies with months of unrelenting heat isn’t exactly an appropriate backdrop for a conversation about rainwater harvesting. Or is it? Sanjeev Kalaswad, rainwater harvesting coordinator with the Texas Water Development Board and a leading proponent of rainwater harvesting in the state, thinks it’s just the right context for enlightening Texans about collecting and storing rainwater. Read more from Texas Co-op Power.

July 10, 2012

Texas Counties Must Get the ‘Big Picture’

Kerrville and much of our Texas Hill Country, has a limited amount of water to spare—either groundwater or surface water. In recent decades many of the Central Edwards Plateau counties have boomed in population, growth and tourism activity. Read HCA Advisory Board member Mike Mecke's article in Ranch & Rural Living Magazine.

May 29, 2012

Rainwater Revival Extends Application Deadline for Classroom Grants

Elementary and Middle Schools in 17 Hill Country counties now have until June 15 to apply for classroom grants focused on teaching water conservation and rainwater catchment to students, courtesy of the annual Rainwater Revival. Grants of up to $900 per selected application will be awarded for use during the 2012-2013 school year. Learn More

April 13, 2012

Rainwater Revival Opens Grant Applications to Schools in 17 Hill Country Counties

The Hill Country Alliance, organizer of the Rainwater Revival, is seeking grant applications from elementary and middle schools in 17 counties throughout the Hill Country to be used for water conservation education or rainwater harvesting projects at school sites. Learn More

April 2, 2012

Rain Harvest Event at McKinney Roughs April 28

Everyone interested in the quality of their rainwater is invited to the first Water Wise Conference, Saturday, April 28th at McKinney Roughs Nature Park in Cedar Creek, Texas. The program, “What’s in your rainwater – and how do you find out?” will begin at 9:30 a.m. and feature Environmental Laboratory Services/LCRA chemists Tess Abbott, Ariana Dean and Susan Benavidez. The three-hour event will include extensive “Q&A” as well as hands-on opportunities to practice using various water testing equipment. Learn More

March 29, 2012

Rainwater harvesting growing in popularity

A well driller wasn't among the contractors Bobby Watson hired when he built a new home overlooking Canyon Lake. Like a growing number of Texans, he opted to get water from the sky. In the driest times, they had 6,000 gallons in the two 10,000-gallon storage tanks that are camouflaged to blend in with surrounding trees. With the average San Antonian using 130 gallons per person per day, they were never in danger of running out. Read more from SA Express-News.

February 6, 2012

First ever study of the US Rainwater Harvesting market has been released

The study took over a year to complete and is a survey of vendors in the rainwater harvesting market. Learn More from HarvestH20.com.

December 20, 2011

Water a hot topic in Hill Country despite recent rains

"Statistics provided by the Texas Water Development Board show that groundwater withdrawal from the Hill Country's Edwards and Trinity aquifers increased dramatically between 1975 and 2010. In 1975, less than 10,000 acre-feet were withdrawn annually; that shot up to 41,000 acre-feet in 2010. Mix in recent drought years, and a picture of a thirsty Hill Country natural world comes into sharper focus." Read more from SA Express-News.

December 14, 2011

Rainwater harvesting system should make this year's wish list

Dear Santa, I've been reasonably good and would like pearl earrings, an electric lap blanket, a digital reading device and, oh yes, a rain water harvesting system. With water being a top concern, you may want to add this to your Christmas wish list. Capturing rain water is a great way to improve your water resources. Read more from MyWestTexas.com.

December 5, 2011

Submit Your Nominations for the Texas Rain Catcher Award

Time is running out to submit your entry for the 4th Annual Texas Rain Catcher Award. The Texas Water Development Board's (TWDB) Texas Rain Catcher Award is a "rainwater harvesting" competition and recognition program designed to promote rainwater technology, educate the public, and recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 31. More information on eligibility, benefits, judging, entries and past winners is available on the TWDB's Innovative Water Technologies website.

August 30, 2011

Senator Wentworth: Planning for the Rains to Come (eventually)

Senator Wentworth promotes HCA’s Rainwater Revival as he informs constituents about Kendall County's action to strengthening watering restrictions and water conservation measures. Read the full story here.

August 15, 2011

Rainwater Revival Offers Expert Advice on Capturing Bounty from the Sky

At the 2nd Annual Rainwater Revival set for October 8 in Dripping Springs, you will learn how easy it can be for everyone to capture and enjoy the benefits of rainwater. The lineup of speakers will educate and inspire – with topics including Rainwater Harvesting 101, Designing and Building for Rainwater, the Water/Energy Nexus, Installing your Own System, and Making Your Own Rain Barrels. State Rep. Doug Miller and representatives from two key state agencies will provide an update on how State and local governments are supporting and encouraging rainwater capture. Read more

May 26, 2011

Rainwater Harvesting Bill Passes Both Texas Chambers

The rainwater harvesting bill made it through the Texas Legislature this week and is headed to the Governor’s desk. Read KUT story here.

May 24, 2011

Texas House Bill 3391 - The Rainwater Harvesting Bill Passes

The passage of Texas House Bill 3391, known as the Rainwater Harvesting Bill, represents a giant step forward for conservation of water resources and water security for the state. Rainwater harvesting is one of the best solutions to limited water resources and an increasing demand on water supply in Texas. Read more here.

March 24, 2011

Save the Date – Rainwater Revival 2011 is set for October 8th in Dripping Springs

Rainwater Harvesting is one of the most simple and effective water conservation tools for the Hill Country. Last year HCA co-hosted the first annual Rainwater Revival to provide education and enthusiasm for Rainwater collection. The event was a huge success and we are busy making plans for 2011! Sponsorship available now, contact HCA for more information. To learn about last year's event see http://www.rainwaterrevival.com. HCA would like to send out a huge thank you to the LCRA and Hays County for their support. You can find more information about Rainwater Harvesting on this HCA issue page: http://www.hillcountryalliance.org/HCA/RainwaterHarvesting

March 4, 2011

Curious about Rainwater use?

The Texas Rainwater Catchment Association (TRCA) is hosting their State Conference in Kerrville. This event is free and open to the public, March 18th and 19th. Learn more

October 26, 2010

Commissioners agree to keep rainwater rules for subdivisions flexible - for now

A public hearing on new development rules drew only two speakers, both supportive of a proposal in the new rules that would allow subdivisions that rely on rainwater collection to provide potable water. Read full Boerne Star article here.

August 20, 2010

Rainwater Revival announces speaker and live music line-up

The Rainwater Revival today announced the speaker and live music line-up for this outdoor festival created to celebrate the timeless conservation practice of rainwater collection. Read more here.

June 8, 2010

Rainwater Revival ramps up for Hays County

The Rainwater Revival will be a fantastic opportunity for the entire Hill Country conservation community to come together in support of rainwater harvesting. Sponsorships and vendor booths are now available and filling fast. The event will take place October 9th in Dripping Springs. Click here to find out how you or your organization can get involved.

May 25, 2010

Texas AgriLife Extention offers online rainwater harvesting training course

Texas AgriLife Extention is offering a self-directed online course designed to help small acreage landowners gain an understanding of how to collect rainwater for livestock. Click here for details.

May 19, 2010

Cibolo Nature Center announces three upcoming programs

Sustainable Concept House Workshop, May 29th, and two Rainwater Harvesting Workshops, June 12 and July 10. Click here for more.

April 13, 2010

Rainwater Revival

The Rainwater Revival is coming to Dripping Springs on 10-9-10. A brainstorm of the Hays County Water Conservation Working Group, The Rainwater Revival will be a fun, festive, educational event to spread the good word on rainwater harvesting and water conservation, the importance of which grows with our ever increasing population. Click here to check out the event website for volunteer and sponsorship opportunities.

February 6, 2010

Bandera settles with business refusing water

A two-year standoff is ending between the city and a businesswoman who refused to take municipal water because she'd installed a rainwater catchment system on her new building. Read full SA Express article here.

March 11, 2010

TRCA 2010 State Conference, March 12-13 in Kerrville

The mission of the Texas Rainwater Catchment Association is to provide Texas citizens with credible information and resources on rainwater collection, to promote the advancement of rainwater conservation and to work with state, county and other local government units in promoting rainwater catchment. The agenda of this conference has been put together with that mission in mind. - Details and Registration

August 18, 2009

Drop in time

A one-inch rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roof yields 600 gallons of water — a bounty during times of drought, according to Hill Country Master Naturalist Jim Stanley. But storing rainwater is just one of the benefits of a rainwater harvesting system, said Stanley, who has served as a Riverside Nature Center volunteer for the past eight years. Read full Kerrville Daily Times article here.

August 11, 2009

Rainwater catchment catches on

Many Bandera County residents have been wondering the obvious, when is it going to rain? Naturally, we are all concerned about our water supplies and whether our wells will withstand the drought. Asserting he can provide an alternative to groundwater usage, Bryon Moseley, of Rain Catchment Systems, Inc., claims it's all on the roof. Read full Bandera Bulletin article here.

August 1, 2009

Collecting rain catching on in Hill Country

It seems somewhat counterintuitive that the longer the drought persists, the more demand grows for rainwater harvesting systems around the Hill Country. They're increasingly popular because, in spite of sparse rainfall, clouds may prove a more reliable long-term water source than wells because of recent rapid growth. Read full Mysanantonio.com article here.

July 31, 2009

What Roof is Best for a Rainwater Harvesting System?

Rainwater harvesting is fast becoming an attractive water supply option in many areas of Texas; some households are even using it as their sole source of water. Although rainwater is generally clean, it can contain chemical and biological contaminants. Some of these contaminants are picked up in the atmosphere, but others are from the roof of a building when rain comes in contact with it. Read full article TWDB's newsletter here.

July 15, 2009

Rainwater Catchment... Where every drop counts

With rainwater catchment dating back to 4,000 years ago, the statement "Where every drop counts" has rung true throughout the centuries in countries around the world. As our region continues to endure almost 2-years of drought conditions and our groundwater resources diminishing more with each passing day, one local Boerne couple continues to prove this method works and the statement is true. Read full Hill Country Times article here.

June 19, 2009

The Great Rain Harvest

While Hari Krishna was visiting his native India recently, he traveled through a remote rural village and saw that rainwater was being collected from the roofs of some of the buildings. He stopped and asked the villagers how they learned to build the catchment system. One man went inside and promptly brought out a copy of The Texas Manual on Rainwater Harvesting written by none other than Krishna. A longtime employee of the Texas Water Development Board, now working as a consultant, Krishna was gratified to find his handbook so far from home, but not all that surprised. Read full TP&W artile here.

Hill Country home off the grid

Talk about the concept of a self-sustained home and the image that comes to mind is a rustic cabin with bare minimum comforts. But one couple in the Texas Hill Country — Rick and Stephanie Ertel — has erased that image. The couple has built a platinum-certified LEED home that is both environmentally friendly and luxurious. What’s more, it also won an Austin Energy Five-star rating. Read full SA Business Journal article here.

June 28, 2009

It’s Now Legal to Catch a Raindrop in Colorado

DURANGO, Colo. — For the first time since territorial days, rain will be free for the catching here, as more and more thirsty states part ways with one of the most entrenched codes of the West. Precipitation, every last drop or flake, was assigned ownership from the moment it fell in many Western states, making scofflaws of people who scooped rainfall from their own gutters. In some instances, the rights to that water were assigned a century or more ago. Read full NY Times article here.

May 1, 2009

Walking in the Rain

When it rains most people stay in and look out. But the next time it rains, get dressed and go out. This is the best way to really know what the flow of water is on ... and off your property. Read full article in Rain Garden Networks latest newsletter here.

November 20, 2008

Central Texans learn about rainwater harvesting

"Residents from all over the Hill Country of Texas who are concerned about water conservation are learning how Mother Nature can lend a helping hand," writes Scott Sticker for the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung. "The Texas AgriLife Extension Service on Saturday afternoon hosted a rainwater harvesting seminar at its Comal County extension office where gardeners, agriculture experts and the everyday water drinker had the chance to learn how to properly harvest and filter rainwater for various needs." Read the full Herald Zeitung story here.

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The Latest News

The Brief: San Antonio on Verge of Big Water Play

"Questions continue to be raised about a giant water pipeline project that would pump roughly 16 billion gallons of groundwater annually from Burleson County to San Antonio. The Tribune's Neena Satija writes: On the eve of the council's historic vote, emails obtained by The Texas Tribune between a chief contractor for the project and the city's water utility have breathed more life into those objections." Read more

The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve – A Western Travis County Asset Worth Learning About

Driving through western portions of Austin, maybe you’ve noticed scenic, tree-covered hills spreading across the landscape and wondered when they will become a new shopping area or residential development. While growth is inevitable, it is also important to preserve land for the environmental benefits it provides. Learn more

Protecting the Hill Country begins with an informed, engaged citizenry

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The Vista Ridge Pipeline - a regional game changer

“The project is much too important and costly for San Antonio not to have a full and complete understanding about the reliability of the groundwater supply.” Read more from this open-letter by Dr. Curtis Chubb, rancher and groundwater expert, published in the Rivard Report. Citizens have the opportunity to address the San Antonio City Council each Wednesday at 6:00 pm. The Alamo Group of the Sierra Club has created a clearinghouse of articles and reports to keep you informed. SA City Council is likely to vote on the project Thursday, October 30th.

San Antonio invests 5 million in Bracken Cave!

“This historic decision puts us within reach of purchasing the entire tract of land and protecting the habitat Bracken’s bats have used for thousands of years.” Read more from Bat Conservation International. “San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the county, in part because of the vast natural resources of the region. It’s our responsibility to ensure we protect and conserve what makes this region incredibly special.” Councilman Ron Nirenburg, quoted in the Rivard Report.

The many reasons millennials are shunning cars

There's a lot of evidence that millennials don't drive as much — or care as much for cars in general — as previous generations their own age did. They're less likely to get driver's licenses. They tend to take fewer car trips, and when they do, those trips are shorter. They're also more likely than older generations to get around by alternative means: by foot, by bike, or by transit. There's still a lot of dispute, however, over exactly what these trends mean. Read more from the Washington Post.

Summit addresses Hill Country issues

"Everything from urban development to dance hall preservation was on the agenda at the Hill Country Alliance 2014 Leadership Summit, held Thursday at the Nimitz Hotel Ballroom." Read the full article from the Fredericksburg Standard.

Keeping Open Spaces Open

“We are reaching a point in Texas where simply standing on common ground is not enough. The lives of urban and rural Texans are irreversibly intertwined, so we must all join forces to create and define initiatives and policies that conserve the common good, while protecting the heritage of private landowners.” Read more of David K. Langford's guest blog for the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation.

Harvest that Rain!

Most food growers rely on tap water to keep their plants alive during dry weather, but gardeners are discovering that chemicals in tap water harm the soil organisms that plants depend upon to absorb nutrients. As a result, more and more gardeners are storing rainwater. Read more from Sustainable Food Center.

Bracken Bat Cave needs your help

For the past year, San Antonio City officials, Bat Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and many other organizations and community leaders have been searching for a solution to avert a 3,500-home development over the Edwards Aquifer and adjacent to Bracken Cave Preserve. Next week, San Antonio's city council will meet to vote on whether to invest $5 million from their Edwards Aquifer Protection Program toward the purchase of the property and a conservation easement to protect aquifer recharge. Learn more from BCI.

Citizens Rule the Night at City Council

City Council chambers filled Wednesday evening with more than 100 people who signed up to speak for or against the proposed SAWS-Vista Ridge Consortium water agreement. Individuals were given two minutes to express their views, while group representatives were allotted five minutes. Read more from the Rivard Report.

When private property rights clash with the public good

“I have never understood why in Texas zoning laws are good for city mice but not for country mice, especially as we lose more and more of the open land that is necessary to our survival as a species every year, but that is the way it is and there seems to be no way to change it until Texans get tired of seeing our state gobbled up by strip malls and truck stops and march on the state capitol armed with shotguns and pruning hooks.” Read this personal story about the Hill Country, by Lonn Taylor, featured in The Big Bend Sentinel. Learn more about County Authority in Texas here.

Public Meeting: Vision for FM 150, October 16 in Driftwood

The public is invited to learn more about the process to develop a Roadway Character Plan for FM 150 from near Arroyo Ranch Road northwest through the Driftwood to RR 12 in Dripping Springs at an October 16 meeting. Hays County Commissioners Will Conley and Ray Whisenant are hosting the meeting to share information about the roadway and gather ideas from the public about what this important cross-county road needs to look like as changes are phased in to improve mobility and safety. Details

Have You Thought about the Hill Country Soundscape?

“..the effects of human endeavors all around the planet can be gauged by listening to the sounds of different habitats. Wild, urban, rural — they all can be interpreted.” Read more from Bernie Krause in “Call of the Wild,” featured in Sun Magazine. Find out what neighbors are doing through the Noise Pollution Clearning House.

Texas A&M reports loss of farms, ranches and forests

“Through Texas Land Trends, we have been able to raise awareness that ‘Yes, we have a lot of land in Texas,’ but we are losing it at a faster rate than most other states in the country, and that loss is having profound impacts on our agricultural base, our water resources and our native wildlife habitat,” Fitzsimons said. Read more about Land Trends.

The Oak Hill “Y” – A gateway to the Hill Country

A community workshop will be held October 9th from 6–8 pm as part of a “Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process,” a planning approach that invites the surrounding communities and neighborhoods to influence the design, so that it reflects their cultural and historic values and aesthetic preferences. Learn more about the event hosted by the CTRMA and TxDot. Explore http://Fix290.org for more information.

HCA's 2015 Calendar is Available for Sale!

HCA has released their 9th Texas Hill Country Calendar. Once again, this calendar delivers stunning photography while remaining an informative resource on Hill Country conservation. The stunning photographs featured throughout the 2015 calendar were chosen from nearly 400 submissions to HCA’s 2014 Photo Contest. Learn more

San Antonio a Step Closer to Controversial Pipeline

San Antonio is one step closer to buying some of the most expensive water ever sold in Texas, just as the deal is drawing more critics. Read more from Texas Tribune.

Be a citizen scientist for Wildlife Field Research

at Cibolo Nature Center & Farm on Oct. 6-11 Volunteers interested in learning about Hill Country wildlife and contributing to its scientific study are encouraged to become citizen scientists during the Wildlife Field Research “bio-blitz” taking place Oct. 6-11 at the Cibolo Nature Center & Farm. Wildlife Field Research is open to participants of all ages and skill levels. Learn more

In Cities Across Texas, Activists Battle Billboard Companies

The Highway Beautification Act will be 50 years old next year. As envisioned by Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, it was supposed to protect the natural landscape from billboards. Ever since its passage, scenic activists and billboard companies have been at war over the views along American highways. More from NPR.

SAWS Board to Vote on Water Deal, UTSA Panel to Follow

The San Antonio Water System Board will vote Monday on a $3.40-billion landmark water deal that would pipe in 50,000 acre-feet of water to San Antonio annually as soon as 2019, enough to meet 20% of the growing city’s future water needs. Read more from the Rivard Report.

Questions answered by SAWS Monday night

Monday’s vote by SAWS is step one, San Antonio City Council will ultimately consider and vote on the Vista Ridge Pipeline Project. Who is this water for? Where will it ultimately go? Who will ultimately pay and what are the long-term financial implications? Show up at UTSA Monday night for a balanced panel discussion. Get educated and get involved. Event details

Community groups question the rush to approve SAWS Vista Ridge Pipeline

“The 522 page draft contract for this $3.4 billion deal was posted on-line on September 23rd, giving the SAWS Board and the public less than a week to review a deal that will have far reaching implications for our community, including an estimated 16% rate hike for SAWS customers.” Read more from GEAA. As Margaret Day of the Alamo Sierra Club points out “to be sustainable, aquifer drawdown should be no greater than recharge.” Read this opinion piece from the Alamo Sierran Word.

The time is now to speak up in Travis County

Travis County is seeking public comments by Wednesday, Oct 1st on their Land, Water and Transportation plan. Read the plan, take the survey and/or send your comments via email. Meanwhile, CAMPO is taking comments until Oct 6th on a variety of projects including a study to construct a major tollway across sensitive preserve lands. “Traffic solution costly, harmful to environment” Read “City to oppose proposed tollroad” in the Austin American Statesmen.

Public Forum on Trinity Aquifer, Oct. 7

The League of Women Voters of Comal Area invites the public to attend “The Trinity Aquifer: A Shared Resource/ A Shared Responsibility,” to be held October 7 in Canyon Lake. “If you drink water in Comal County, you are likely to be drinking Trinity water, or you soon will be. It is up to all of us to learn more about this resource, no matter where in Comal County we live.” Learn more

Evaporation – a loss for humans and wildlife in Texas

It's no secret that drought has been a major factor in the declining water levels of our lakes and reservoirs here in Texas. But there is another factor that has has received very little attention - evaporation. Read more from Texas Living Waters.

New streetlights to make for darker skies

The stars may seem a little brighter over Kerrville next year. The Kerrville Public Utility Board last week set aside about $734,000 to upgrade 2,000 city street lights to “full cut-off,” high-efficiency LED lamps that won’t shine light upward. Read More from the Kerrville Daily Times.

Water Crisis: Time to Get Serious!

Last week’s “Water Crisis” event hosted by The Hays County Citizens Alliance for Responsible Development (CARD) drew a huge crowd and continues to create a lot of meaningful conversations about how rural lands west of I-35 will be developed. Learn more

Big changes for the Cibolo Nature Center (and FARM!)

Even as Cibolo Nature Center staffers celebrate a major milestone with the completed restoration of the historic Herff farmhouse, they're setting ambitious new goals. Read more from SA Express-News.

It Will Take an Insane Amount of Rain Before the Highland Lakes Recover

Central Texas is having a pretty decent year, rain-wise. We’re sitting just below normal. But these big rain events all have something in common: They really haven’t fallen where we need them most. “The watershed that helps our water supplies isn’t here in Austin; it’s way up into the counties to the north of us." Read more from State Impact.

Trend Of Land Fragmentation, Rural Loss Continues In Texas

Land fragmentation has been a growing problem for Texas, and by all appearances it isn’t going to slow any time soon. The state’s population continues to grow rapidly, and those residents have an insatiable appetite for land. Read more from Livestock Weekly.

No Land. No Water.

As the current drought reminds us, water continues to impact the sustainability and growth of Texas' economy. Unfortunately, land is disappearing faster than in any other state, threatening the water resources on which our economy depends. Land conservation is a cost-effective water resource protection strategy. Join TALT October 1st in Austin.

Fall Camping Workshops Announced for Outdoor Families

With cool weather around the corner, the Texas Outdoor Family program has scheduled outdoor recreational workshops statewide though the beginning of December. The workshops offer a low-cost weekend trip where families can un-plug, reconnect with nature, and learn the basics of camping. Read more from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Aquifer is No Quick Fix for Central Texas Thirst

Water marketers who want to sell to cities say there’s plenty of groundwater, however landowners and conservationists warn that this precious resource could drain in a few decades. What’s the long-term impact on the Colorado River as the groundwater table declines? Who exactly is this water for and what are they willing to pay? Read this excellent article by Neena Satija, Texas Tribune.

Where is the Hill Country?

ACC Professor Don Jonsson takes an interesting look at various degrees of consensus about what geography is included in the “Hill Country.” His data shows Luckenbach as generally the mean center of the region and the Pedernales River Basin 100% Texas Hill Country. View his project findings, map and summary. HCA has a plethora of helpful Hill Country map resources available online and as well as an interactive map viewer.

Wild Pigs!

Landowner groups and Wildlife Coops – Here’s something worth passing along to your member lists. Wild Pigs are an issue throughout the Hill Country region. Here’s an opportunity to learn from the comfort of your own ranch/home computer. Dial in September 18th to from noon to 1:00. Find out how to access this webinar made possible by the Texas Wildlife Association.

"I’m a NIMBY and proud"

“The effects of population growth on traffic are easy to understand. More people equal more cars on the road. More cars on the road equal more congestion. Duh! The real culprit is the rate at which new people are moving here.” Read one bold Austinite's views (who happens to also be a Real Estate Developer) about the real issue facing Austin (and the Hill Country) population. Ed Wendler, Special to the Austin American Statesman.

CARD Hosts a Community Water Meeting September 11

to host a free community meeting this Thursday to discuss why water is an increasingly critical issue, and how we can all be part of improving the outlook. Speakers include Andy Sansom, Executive Director of the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, Steve Clouse, Chief Operating Officer of San Antonio Water Systems, Ray Whisenant, Hays County Commissioner, Peter Newell, Water Resources Engineer at HDR Engineering, and Bech Bruun of the TWDB. Details

What’s all this fuss about a Parkway through Oak Hill?

The Fix 290 Coalition, a group of over 40 organizations and businesses and 2,800 petition signers, have been advocating for a “parkway" concept to move traffic through Oak Hill and protect the original character and unique natural environment of the area for more than a decade. The City of Austin is now asking for a study of this community driven “parkway” alternative to TxDot’s traditional elevated/frontage road model. Read more from Fix290.

HCA Transmission Line Workshop Generates Crowd

On Saturday, September 6th the Hill Country Alliance hosted a landowner workshop for those landowners potentially impacted by the LCRA's proposed Blumenthal substation and transmission line project. The workshop featured an update from the LCRA on the status of their application to the Public Utility Commission, and a panel discussion of landowner rights during the transmission line routing and construction process. To read a more detailed summary of the event and access speaker presentations, click here.

A Tale of 2 Water Districts: 1 Aquifer, 2 Strategies

A decade ago, prospective water marketers easily secured the rights to pump more than 20 billion gallons of water annually from the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer in Central Texas’ Burleson County. The company now holding those rights, BlueWater, is negotiating a $3 billion deal to send much of that water to San Antonio. Read more from The Texas Tribune.

More news

Upcoming Events

October

October 29 in Austin - Great Places and Healthy People, presented by Congress for the New Urbanism - Details

October 30 in Austin - Balcones Canyonland Preserve Infrastructure Workshop - Details

November

November 3 in New Braunfels - 2014 ASACC & Lone Star Rail District Legislative Session Luncheon with State Representatives Donna Howard, Ruth Jones McClendon and Doug Miller - Details

November 6 in Wimberley - A Quiet Day in the Texas Hill Country: "Reflections on the Poetry of Wendell Berry," at the Red Corral Ranch - Details

November 11 in Austin - Meeting of the Austin Sierra Club - Austin Water Resources Planning Task Force with Sharlene Leurig - Details

November 15 in Johnson City - Sneak Peak Fundraiser at the Hill Country Science Mill: A fun foray into the (not-quite-finished) science museum - Details

December

December 5 in Smithson Valley - The Texas Hill Country Water Summit with Representative Doug Miller - Details

December 10-12 in Austin - 3rd Annual Lone Star Water Summit - Details



See more upcoming events


2015 HCA Calendar

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Check out the top photos from our 2014 HCA Photo Contest


Imagine a place where vibrant communities draw strength from their natural assets to sustain their quality of life. A place where citizens care about protecting the special qualities of a region – their region. A place where people and partners band together to envision a better economic future, tackle shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic, and recreational resources that define the place they call home.
~This is a Conservation Landscape



Hill Country View
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Maps

Helpful Mapping Resources - Beautiful and informative maps of the region to print and share.

HCA Dynamic Mapping Tool - Interactive online GIS mapping tool

 
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