Lower Colorado River Authority representatives present a $20,572 grant to the Tow Volunteer Fire Department for a rainwater collection system and storage tank at the Eldorado Fire Station. Pictured (from left) are Assistant Fire Chief Tim Hackney, LCRA board member Margaret Voelter, VFD supporter Nita Capell, Fire Chief Josh Becker, VFD supporter Tammy Pokorny, LCRA board member Carol Freeman, firefighter Randy Satterwhite, and LCRA Regional Affairs representative Susan Patten. Photo from LCRA
The Tow Volunteer Fire Department will install a new rainwater collection system and storage tank at its Eldorado Fire Station with the help of a $20,572 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority, the LCRA announced in a media release Monday, May 16.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant plus $5,143 from the department will fund the project to bring an on-site sustainable water source to the station, which is located on the northwest side of Lake Buchanan.
“Putting in this tank is going to dramatically increase the amount of water we have available to us,” said Jim Simmons, secretary and treasurer of the Tow VFD, in the LCRA media release. “Water is a big issue, and this grant is going to make a whole lot of difference for us.”
The system will collect rainfall from the station’s roof, an anticipated yield of 1,500 gallons per inch of rain. The rainwater collected will reduce stormwater runoff into Lake Buchanan and the need to pull water from wells and the lake.
“We’re talking something like 18,000 gallons of water we can get off our roof in a normal year,” Simmons said.
The area the Eldorado Fire Station serves has no fire hydrants. Fire trucks currently have to travel to other stations to fill up.
“We have two stations that have water tanks, and, right now, it’s all gravity fed,” Simmons said. “It takes us 20 to 30 minutes while we are there in order to get our trucks full. If we’re trying to put out a fire, that certainly makes a difference.”
The new system will be equipped with a pump, allowing firefighters to refill trucks more quickly and improve the department’s response time.
“It’s huge,” Simmons said. “It is going to take us five to seven minutes to fill our trucks now, so it’s just great.”
The department is committed to being an efficient and dependable resource for those it serves.
“We are constantly upgrading our stations, upgrading our gear, upgrading our equipment,” Simmons said. “It’s an ongoing process for any volunteer fire department.”
The community grant is one of 36 grants recently awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders, and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water, and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. For more information, visit lcra.org/cdpp.