River Bend Nature Center, Wichita Falls
- Category: Non-Profit
- System Location: 2200 3rd Street, Lucy Park, Wichita Falls, TX 76301
- Capacity: 550 gallons
- Water Use: Non-potable, irrigation, Children's Garden
Background and System:
Members of the Rolling Plains Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists volunteer at the River Bend Nature Center in Wichita Falls, Texas. In the process of constructing a new children's garden at the center, chapter members discussed the educational benefits of rainwater harvesting as part of the ecology tours for children who visit the center.
The goals of the project were to: inform the public that water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to reduce our demand for water; educate the public that rainwater harvesting is one of the best ways to conserve and reduce our water usage; share with the public simple, inexpensive ways to create a rainwater harvesting system; enlighten our children so future generations will have the opportunity to drink and enjoy clean water; and supply the Children's Garden with pure, clean water.
Using chapter funds, the center purchased two previously used 275-gallon containers to store water collected from the roof of the Priddy Pavilion at the center. The tanks were placed on the same level as the pavilion, upslope from the garden to transfer harvested rainwater from the tanks to the garden.
The first-flush diverter on the system consists of a PVC standpipe which fills with water during a rainfall event. The balance of water is routed to the tanks. The standpipes are drained continuously via a pinhole or by leaving the screws slightly open. The standpipe is cleaned by removing the PVC cover with a wrench and removing collected debris after each rainfall event.
Future plans include installing a 3,000-gallon tank to collect rainwater from the newly constructed Butterfly Conservatory at the center.
The system was designed and installed at a total cost of approximately $250.
The rainwater harvesting system serves as part of River Bend's Ecology tour conducted with all Wichita Falls Independent School District 4th grade students. Chapter members help guide the tours and provide information about the rainwater harvesting system.