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Texas Tech University receives the Texas Water Development Board’s Texas Rain Catcher Award

For immediate release. Contact: Media Relations 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. Texas Tech University (TTU) 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.

A multidisciplinary team of TTU researchers designed the Home Utility Management System (HUMS) to solve potentially serious water supply issues associated with the current centralized utility model used throughout the country. HUMS is a residential utility management system that relies on a decentralized utility concept with an interactive component that employs machine learning to deliver water usage suggestions to residents. Rainwater is harvested from the home’s roof, stored in a 10,000-gallon storage tank, and then filtered, disinfected, and pressurized to serve as the home’s sole potable water source. The rainwater collection system’s capital costs over a multiyear period are expected to be comparable to utility costs.

HUMS combines detailed water use data from all fixtures and appliances, metered storage tank level data, and weather forecasts to create usage scenarios that will help residents maximize the harvested rainwater and conserve their local water resources. The HUMS test home sits at the TTU Llano River Field Station in Junction, Texas, where it will be used for testing and development of HUMS technology. One of HUMS’ goals is to transform the utility infrastructure model into a more reliable, decentralized framework that sustains a high quality of life at an affordable cost. 

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. Texas Tech University 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.