As communities across the state ration their water supplies, Denton County is being recognized for its conservation efforts. The county is harvesting rainwater to save money.
"Water is free, so we just have to collect it and use it," Denton County Director of Purchasing Beth Fleming said.
The Denton County Administrative Complex has a system in place that does just that. Instead of buying water from the city, they collect their own -- one rainfall at a time.
"Instead of having the water off the roof and the sidewalks and the drive go into the storm system, we collect that in these cisterns and use that to irrigate our lawns," Denton County Construction Manager Michael Tubiolo said.
The lawns are also part of the plan. Tubiolo said the native plants can survive with little water.
The Texas Water Development Board recognized the county for these efforts by handing them the 2011 Texas Rain Catcher Award.
"Part of the reason we won is because we are looking to do our whole campus this way," Tubiolo said.
The 38-acre site is being developed with energy efficiency in mind.
"Our commissioners court really saw the values in minimizing air quality issues and energy efficiency, and of course, there is the financial benefit long-term in doing that as well," Fleming said.
Fleming said the initial cost can be steep, but the county expects a 25-percent savings on utilities.
"As far as seeing long-term savings, we are already seeing that," Fleming said.
She said there's satisfaction in realizing how to save the environment and save money.