The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) announced on September 3, 2020 the recipients of its annual Texas Rain Catcher Award, a rainwater harvesting competition, and recognition program. The Playa Drain Trail was with an Honorable Mention.
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.
Creosote Collaborative, in coordination with High Desert Native Plants, and Quantum Engineering Consultants, assisted the City of El Paso on a grant awarded by the National Recreation and Park Association to construct two bioswales along the Playa Drain Trail to increase awareness about passive rainwater harvesting in the desert, wildlife habitats, watershed management, and water quality. The Playa Drain Trail, a 3.4-mile trail in El Paso, Texas, offers community members an opportunity to exercise and enjoy the park and recreation amenities in this area. This area was chosen because of the drainage needs in the area and high visibility of the new trail.
The chosen location for this particular system in the Playa Drain Trail previously held a small amount of water, but once it reached capacity water overflowed into the street, causing flooding along the curb and gutter. To address these flooding issues, bioswales were designed and built in coordination with local stakeholders and volunteers. This system effectively controls urban runoff by decentralizing stormwater into a vegetated channel that provides water treatment and retention and encourages pollination by including desert-adaptive pollinator plants as part of the design.
This project resulted in a system with increased stormwater storage capacity through the introduction of additional and wider basins, yielding up to 30,000 gallons of total capacity. This system has provided cost savings in the form of reduced maintenance costs associated with nuisance flooding, including staff time, materials, and fuel costs. The project will also reduce maintenance costs for the adjacent road surface by removing standing water that can cause damage to the asphalt. Additionally, this project will result in lower costs associated with vector control responses to mosquitos by making sure the retained water is properly infiltrated to prevent mosquito breeding.
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.
Among the other 2020 winners were:
Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District and the Parker County Livestock Improvement Association
Austin Central Library
Texas Tech University’s Home Utility Management System (HUMS)
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.