Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative representatives present a $24,515 grant to Highland Lakes Canine Rescue for a rainwater catchment system that will provide water to firefighters for use in emergency responses. Pictured from left — along with a few adorable photo bombers — are LCRA Regional Affairs representative Susan Patten, LCRA board member Michael L. ‘Mike’ Allen, PEC Community Outreach specialist Celeste Mikeska, LCRA board members Margaret D. ‘Meg’ Voelter and Carol Freeman, rescue Executive Director Brittany Osbourn, rescue facilities manager and trainer Cody Broker, and rescue board member and volunteer coordinator Janelle Boutte. Courtesy photo
A $24,515 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative will help Highland Lakes Canine Rescue install a rainwater catchment system and a water tank for use by area firefighters.
The Community Development Partnership program money, along with $16,780 in matching funds from the rescue, will pay for a vital source of water for fighting fires in an area that does not have access to municipal service or fire hydrants.
During a wildfire in June, residents near the shelter had to be evacuated when firefighting efforts were limited due to a lack of nearby water resources.
“We just watched as it kept growing and growing – and it got huge,” said Brittany Osbourn, executive director of Highland Lakes Canine Rescue. “When the firefighters arrived, we found out they had to go out and find water to combat it. It made us realize instantaneously how dangerous it is and how important a project like this is.”
Highland Lakes Canine Rescue worked closely with local emergency service departments on the water tank’s design, size, location, and accessibility. The rescue’s facility has room for large vehicles to drive in and out and is in a part of Marble Falls with limited traffic. It is easily accessible by several fire departments, including Horseshoe Bay, Burnet, and Granite Shoals. A manager also lives on site and can make sure firefighters have access.
The surface area of the kennel’s roof can collect more than 100,000 gallons of rainwater per year, potentially filling the 29,173-gallon tank more than three times over.
“This is peace of mind for our community,” Osbourn said. “If we have another fire, there’s always going to be water.”
The community grant is one of 46 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. PEC is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in January. More information is available online.