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The Sunrise Beach Volunteer Fire Department received a Lower Colorado River Authority community grant for $15,200 that will go toward a rainwater collection system to help refill firefighting vehicles. 

The funds will be combined with $6,898 from the department to buy a collection system with a 13,800-gallon storage tank, saving the department money in the long run. The system will draw water off of Station No. 1’s 3,500-square-foot roof. An inch of rain should provide about 2,000 gallons of water.

Sunrise Beach VFD Past President Jim Miller said the tank will hold 40 percent rainwater and 60 percent city-supplied water. The new system’s higher-volume pump will refill firefighting trucks at a faster rate. 

Currently, the department uses water drawn from Lake LBJ and city-supplied water. 

Saving money by using the collected rainwater, the department can direct more funds toward operations and supplies.

The new system also can provide a constant supply of water for nearby fire departments needing to refill vehicles while on a call. 

The Sunrise Beach department has been considering buying a rainwater collection system for awhile.

“I guess it was about two years ago when this idea popped into our heads,” Miller said. “Everybody’s excited about this grant from LCRA. We’re really wanting to get the project going.”

The grant is one of 28 recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, part of the authority’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-31. More information is available on the Community Development Partnership Program webpage

On May 12, the LCRA announced it had donated $104,000 — $2,000 each — to 52 community food banks, including facilities in Burnet and Llano counties, to help support them during the coronavirus crisis. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged all Texans to take care of one another especially with so many people currently out of work,” said LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson. “There is perhaps no greater calling than the work these organizations do in providing food for people who have no other place to turn. LCRA is honored to support them.”