On January 21st the Hays County Commissioners Court discussed creation of a Hays County Rainwater Initiative Fund, the Hays “RAIN” Fund. After reviewing the proposal and hearing from speakers supporting the proposal, the Commissioners unanimously agreed to authorize Commissioners Whisenant and Conley to proceed with further development of the “RAIN” proposal and report back to the Court in about six weeks.

The proposal authored by Commissioner Ray Whisenant would create a revolving loan fund that would be available to Hays County citizens for installation of systems to collect, store and use rainwater that would result in a reduction in the use of groundwater.

The fund would be appropriated beginning in 2015 to reach a total of $1,000,000 within five years. The RAIN fund would provide up to a total of $100,000 per year for the following ten years made available as loans to eligible citizens for rainwater system installations. Loans to citizens for rainwater systems would be guaranteed by a note on their property and would be repaid within ten years.

At the January 21st meeting the Court reviewed a broad outline for the creation of the RAIN fund including: 1) a committee to oversee the fund chaired by a County Commissioner; 2) an Administrative Panel; and 3) Task Groups appointed to develop details of the program. Citizens and rainwater professionals will be asked to serve on the various committees.

This innovative proposal will be a positive step by the Hays County Commissioners Court to provide an incentive for Hays County citizens to convert to rainwater use and reduce the demand on groundwater. Programs similar to this have operated successfully in other states where water supplies are challenged. Wimberley resident Barbara Hopson was the first to propose this incentive program to the Court during a meeting in 2013.