Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Green in Brownwood: How One Business Conserves Water in the Middle of Texas

toilet sink

Photo by Mose Buchele

The toilet sink, imported from Japan, aims to educate people about conservation at Steve's Market and Deli.

Located just one county north of geographic center of Texas, Brownwood, population 20,000, might seem an unlikely place for high tech innovation. But about a year ago the town made headlines for proposing a cutting-edge solution to its water crisis: toilet to tap waste water treatment.

The future of that project remains unclear as the town explores other options (including simply digging new wells). But that hasn’t stopped some residents from taking matters into their own hands.  On our recent reporting trip to to the oilfields of the Permian Basin, we ran into one of those people: Steve Harris, co-owner of Steve’s Market and Deli.

As a small businessman and self-described ‘activist’ Harris has turned his cafe into a sort of show-room for water conservation. The bathroom featured a toilet-sink commonly found in Tokyo. The cafe also captures rain water, and water from the AC system. It recycles trash in a town that has no city-wide recycling.

Click the player below to hear more about Harris’ efforts to conserve and some of the challenges he says he has in going “green” in Brownwood.

Support for KUT’s StateImpact Texas Roadshow comes from The UT Energy Institute.


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