Jump to main content

Austin Central Library receives the Texas Water Development Board’s Texas Rain Catcher Award

For immediate release. Contact: Sarah Haney at 512-463-5129

AUSTIN – (September 3, 2020) – The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced today the recipients of its annual Texas Rain Catcher Award, a rainwater harvesting competition and recognition program. The Austin Central Library was recognized in the educational/governmental 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 critical water-saving practice.

In addition to being Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, the Austin Central Library has received multiple awards for design and construction since opening in 2017. The design of the library focused on the use of alternative water supplies to meet the needs of visitors, staff, and the landscape. The alternative water supplies include rainwater harvesting, air conditioner condensate collection, and the city’s centralized reclaimed water system.

Approximately 43,000 square feet of roof surface collects rainwater. A key element of the collection system is the use of a repurposed underground cistern that was previously used by the decommissioned Seaholm Power Plant. The cistern can hold approximately 700,000 gallons, of which half is dedicated to rainwater and condensate and half is used for runoff control.

The combination of rainwater, condensate, and reclaimed water is used for toilet flushing and irrigation of three garden areas, including a rooftop butterfly garden. These sources of water achieve a potable water offset of approximately 85 percent.

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 Austin Central Library is one of six awardees being recognized statewide this year.

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