Texas Department of Transportation
- Category: Government
- Organization Location: Hillsboro, Texas
- Activity: Designed two safety rest areas with rainwater harvesting systems that provide supplemental water for landscape irrigation.
Located on both sides of Interstate 35 about five miles south of Hillsboro, each identical Hill County Safety Rest Area includes a rainwater harvesting system that provides supplemental water for landscape irrigation, educates the public on rainwater harvesting and water conservation, and most importantly entices drivers to take a break from the road.
At the front building entrance, a large metal funnel catches rainwater from the rooftops. Then an aqueduct that also doubles as a “Welcome” gateway carries this rainwater over the sidewalk, into a metal sculpture, then into a 20,000 gallon underground collection tank. The stored rainwater is then pumped to irrigate landscaped areas within the building’s front entrance plaza that, in keeping with the facility’s agrarian theme, features parallel bands of planted beds that resemble row crops. Interpretive signage explains the facility’s water conservation efforts and highlights the importance of native grasses and wildflowers. Located on the Texas leg of the “Prairie Passage”, a national wildflower corridor stretching from the Canadian border to Mexico, the Hill County Safety Rest Areas encourage all visitors to conserve water and to consider harvesting rainwater wherever they live.