Jessica Ruffin is looking for ways to save money — and resources — on her 40-acre property.

Ruffin traveled nearly two hours Sunday from Blanket to Killeen in search of options to conserve water. She was among many residents who visited the 3½-acre home of Ken Schoen, president of the Lake Stillhouse Hollow Cleanwater facility on Slawson Lane in Killeen.

Although Ruffin has a well she can use for drinking, washing and showering in her home, she’s nervous about the well running out of water if the drought continues.

“I’ve known about the idea (of collecting rainwater) for several years, but only just recently bought a house,” Ruffin said. “We’re interested in harvesting water at our own house so we wanted to see how it works on someone else’s before we did it ourselves.”

She said people should be conscious about their water use, and wants to use rainwater to feed plants and animals, including her four horses.

Four years ago, Schoen only had a 35-gallon receptacle he used to catch rainwater.

By February 2013, he had 90 gallons worth of water-storage units and now he has more than 1,870 gallons worth of space to catch, store and recycle rainwater back into the environment.

Schoen said his organization was originally formed in 2013 with the purpose of keeping Stillhouse Hollow Lake water as clean as it was when it was first filled.

With the lake currently down about 11 feet, Schoen said his goal is also to conserve water and educate future generations about water conservation.

“Texas is in the third year of a normal five-year drought. What climatologists are saying is with the patterns that they have in Texas right now, (the drought) could be 15 years,” Schoen said. “If it’s 15 years, of course my tanks are going to dry out, but what I do, I conserve water by not using city water or the water system that I’m hooked into.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at SarahRafique.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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