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Bob Durham and the Natural Resources Conservation Service receive TWDB's Texas Rain Catcher Award

For immediate release. Contact: Media Relations at 512-463-5129

AUSTIN  (March 21, 2016) The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced today the recipients of its annual Texas Rain Catcher Award, a rainwater harvesting competition and recognition program. Bob Durham and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) were jointly recognized in the agriculture category.

The TWDB's Texas Rain Catcher Award recognizes excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas, promotes rainwater harvesting technology, and educates the public on this important water-saving practice.

Bob Durham decided to take on a proactive solution to drought conditions in the Texas Panhandle and contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture-NRCS for technical assistance on water conservation planning measures. Mr. Durham and NRCS engineering staff worked together to design a rainwater harvesting system that captures water from the roofs of two large livestock barns and then stores it in six linked 5,000-gallon polyethylene tanks. The water is then delivered to cattle troughs in nearby pastures through gravity-fed pipes.

The system can provide a month's worth of water for 25 head of cattle with two inches of rain. The Environmental Quality Incentives Program, offered by the NRCS, provided financial assistance for this agricultural water harvesting system. As a result of this system, Mr. Durham will save money and conserve water though reduced pumping of groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer. This system is the first project to be recognized with a Texas Rain Catcher Award in the agriculture category.

The Texas Rain Catcher Award competition began in 2007 and is open to all individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities, and other local and state governmental entities in Texas. It recognizes entities and individuals in the rainwater harvesting community and beyond and establishes award recipients as dedicated water conservation leaders in Texas. The joint project of Bob Durham and the NRCS is one of five awardees being recognized statewide this year.

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state's water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.