2014 TWDB Rain Catcher Award Winner: Twin Oaks Library

May 5, 2015

The City of Austin Twin Oaks Library was selected as one of the winners of the Texas Water Development Board Rain Catcher Award for 2014. IWS originally installed the rainwater harvesting system for this project.

The 5,000-gallon rainwater harvesting system was initially installed in 2010 to educate the public about the benefits of stormwater management and to conserve potable water by providing captured rainwater and air conditioner condensate to an on-site landscape irrigation system. The City of Austin, in collaboration with Geosyntec Consultants and the Water Environment Research Foundation, decided to retrofit the system to allow integration of system controls with real-time weather forecasts. The retrofit was part of a pilot study to demonstrate the technology as an innovative and improved approach for rainwater harvesting system management.

To improve water conservation during dry periods, irrigation volume is automatically reduced when the cisterns are less than half full. In advance of forecasted storm events with a probability greater than 60 percent, the cisterns are automatically drained as needed to increase available storage capacity for the forecasted runoff volume. Water drained from the tanks prior to storm events is directed to the irrigation system and an on-site rain garden. The retrofit of the rainwater harvesting system at the Twin Oaks Library demonstrates the applicability and benefits of this innovative technology as a cost-effective measure for water conservation and stormwater runoff reduction.

About the Rain Catcher Awards
The Texas Rain Catcher Award is a rainwater harvesting competition and recognition program established October 1, 2007, by the Texas Water Development Board to promote technology, educate the public, and to recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas.

Categories: Awards
Chris Maxwell-Gaines :I am a professional civil engineer and urban planner that focuses on creating impacting and sustainable projects by identifying all of the hidden water conservation opportunities available in a project. I am particularly interested in working within the realms of sustainable site planning, integrated water management and planning, and low impact development practices.