Raritan Valley CC Designated 'River-Friendly'

Raritan Valley Community College (NJ) has been awarded the River-Friendly certification by New Jersey Water Supply Authority for its efforts to improve local water resource quality through water quality management, water conservation, protection of wildlife habitat and outreach. The college committed to pursuing River-Friendly certification as part of its environmental stewardship agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The college has made numerous environmental improvements on campus to achieve River-Friendly certification including the installation of rain gardens, implementing an integrated pest management policy, reducing the campus’ mowed lawn area by 24 percent, training students to conduct assessments on the campus streams, and creating inventories of the campus' 289 species of flora and fauna.

U Georgia to Revive Buried Waterways

The University of Georgia has planned to revive buried waterways on campus after two centuries of construction turned the waterways into part of a 53-mile network of underground drain pipes. University planners have begun working to partially restore the creeks and improve the purity of the water in the streams. The university is also developing projects designed to reduce pollution flowing into the stream system.

U Louisville Tapped for Water-Efficient Landscaping Renovations

As part of its green infrastructure program to reduce sewage overflows from sewers, Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) has announced a $1.5 million campus landscaping renovation at the University of Louisville (KY). Renovations will include vegetated roofs, parking lots renovated to funnel water into gravel-filled pits, a rain garden and porous brick surfacing. The projects are intended to prevent millions of dollars in flood damage and serve as an example for similar projects across the city.

Ball State U Adds Green Roof Atop Geothermal Station

Ball State University (IN) has installed about 7,000 square-feet of GreenGrid, a modular and maintenance-free plant system, on the roof of its North District Energy Station. The green roof features pallets that are made of 60 percent recycled plastic and filled with low-growing vegetation. The installation will help insulate the building and reduce the amount of rainwater that flows into the storm sewer system. The university hopes to incorporate green roofs into its strategic construction plan.

Albany State U to Revamp Water Conservation Program

Albany State University (GA) has announced plans to upgrade its water conservation program. The program was first implemented in 2007 during the last major statewide drought. It helped reduce water use on campus by 23 percent, but campus leaders are putting a renewed focus on conservation. The university has stopped washing all vehicles and will discontinue the watering of lawns.

Palm Beach Atlantic U Receives Water Monitoring System

An underground soil moisture monitoring system has been donated to Palm Beach Atlantic University (FL). The university will use the system to measure and help reduce its water usage for irrigation purposes on campus. The system measures soil moisture at the root level and transmits data wirelessly to a base station that works with the existing irrigation clock to prevent over-watering. The moisture sensors and base units are expected to save as many as 2.5 million gallons of water a year.

U Mass Medical School Installs Gray Water Pipeline

The University of Massachusetts Medical School has announced the installation of a gray water pipeline to reduce the amount of fresh water the campus power plant uses while generating steam, electricity and chilled water. The 12-inch pipeline will connect the power plant to a drainage system within the university's planned Albert Sherman Center that will capture rainwater from the building's roof and water that condenses around the building's air conditioning systems.

U Texas Arlington to Install 1,500 Low-Flow Showerheads

The University of Texas at Arlington has received 1,500 low-flow shower heads from the City of Arlington as part of an ongoing effort to promote water conservation and sustainable practices. The shower heads will be installed in residence halls and other student housing locations during the summer. The university expects to save 14.2 million gallons of water each year, saving more than $100,000 a year in water, sewer and natural gas fees.

George Washington U Announces Water Sustainability Plan

George Washington University (DC) has announced a new campus water footprint and sustainability strategy that addresses potable water, rainfall capture, waste water and bottled water. The university plans to reduce its bottled water direct expenditures by 50 percent over the next five years, increase its permeable space by 10 percent in 10 years and decrease campus water consumption by 25 percent in 10 years.

U California Berkeley Unveils Water Conservation Goal

At its recent Annual Sustainability Summit, the University of California, Berkeley's chancellor announced a water conservation goal to reduce campus use of potable water to 10 percent below 2008 levels by 2020. The university uses more than 600 million gallons of potable water annually, mostly for water faucets, toilets, showers and other domestic purposes on the main campus and in the student-residence halls. The university plans to meet its goal by upgrading to lower-flow fixtures, repairing leaks, replacing heating equipment and encouraging water conservation. The initiative will require an investment of $1.6 million over five years, with an expected savings of $250,000 a year.

Washington Post Highlights Higher Ed Bottled Water Bans

Rallying against bottled water has become a cause for college environmental groups in the past few years, reports a recent article in The Washington Post. The article addresses the controversial nature of bottled water bans, and gives examples of how colleges are trying to make it easier for students to pick refillable bottles over throwaway ones and educating students about recycling and how their several-bottles-a-day habit quickly piles up in a landfill. Bottled water restriction efforts at the University of Maryland College Park, Washington University in St. Louis (MO), DePauw University (IN) and American University (DC) are among those mentioned.

Delta College Plans Stormwater Mgmt Interpretive Sign System

Delta College (MI) recently received a $10,000 Bay Area Community Foundation grant for the installation of interpretive signage for its Stormwater Management Project. The college has worked to improve its stormwater filtration system by channeling the water from parking lots through wet meadows and drainage ditches for a natural filtration before it enters the rivers and lakes of the region. The interpretive displays will raise awareness about the project and provide a historical perspective of the land from acquisition to its current use. Land stewardship functions will be represented including responsible stormwater management, the use of recycled/reusable materials, and the effect of local actions on the local environment.

U Michigan Reduces Water Consumption by 68%

As a result of a computerized irrigation system installed in 2006, the University of Michigan has announced a 68 percent reduction in campus water consumption. The system plugs into a campus weather station that watches wind speed, rain, temperature and humidity to gauge the best times to irrigate and when irrigation should be shut off. The project initially cost $350,000, and the university has reported a total of $564,000 in water bill savings.

Ball State U Journalism Students Work for Water Conservation

Ball State University’s (IN) journalism students will collaborate with nonprofit Circle of Blue to report on water conservation issues in China, and how climate change is impacting the Great Lakes region. The partnership will provide students with the opportunity to delve into an internationally significant sustainability issue.

Harvard U Students Create Interactive Water Footprint Map

Students at Harvard University (MA) recently won a competition by data visualization community Visualizing.org that challenged the design community to visualize urban water data. The contest was held in honor of the United Nation's International World Water Day in March. The graduate students' "What is Your Water Footprint?" interactive online graphic shows visitors how much water they use based on what country they live in and allows users to see how much water is used to create common consumer beverages and products.

California State U Sacramento Signs Water Consulting Contract

California State University, Sacramento has signed a $300,000 consulting contract with California’s Department of Water Resources to troubleshoot difficulties with the state’s water delivery and conservation measures. The contract stipulates that the university is responsible for providing consulting, research, education and training services to the water resources department.

Montana State U Saves 40,000 Gallons of Water in a Week

A weeklong campaign at Montana State University increased water conservation on campus and produced a savings of 40,000 gallons of water. The events during the campaign included documentaries, presentations and community meetings. The Water Conservation Week focused on four individual consumption habits: shaving a minute off your showers, turning the water off while you brush your teeth, doing larger loads of laundry and not buying bottled water.

U South Florida Sculpture Raises Water Conservation Awareness

The University of South Florida is collaborating with the Southwest Florida Water Management District to initiate a water conservation campaign called “Every Drop Counts!” The first stage of this campaign began with a sculpture installation in the lobby of the Marshall Student Center by a university alumnus who constructed a pyramid of 111 one-gallon jugs. The number correlates to the amount of water used by the average individual in the Tampa Bay, Fla. region.

U Oklahoma Establishes New Water and Sustainability Institute

The University of Oklahoma has announced plans to establish an Institute for Water and Sustainability. Funded by a $2 million gift from Corix, the institute will include the new Oklahoma Water Survey, patterned on the Oklahoma Geological Survey, which is also housed at the university. The institute will also consist of the Water Technologies for Emerging Regions Center and a future program focused on water and sustainability in critical regions. The university plans to begin its search for the institute's leader immediately.

U New Brunswick Students Discover Lead, Iron in Campus Tap Water

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that while students at the University of New Brunswick were trying to prove that tap water was just as safe as bottled water, they found lead and iron levels over the acceptable health limits in water from drinking fountains in two of the older buildings on campus. After letting the water run for two minutes and then five minutes, however, the water levels tested fine. The university is now working with provincial and municipal authorities to resolve the issue. The students, who now recommend letting the fountain water run for at least two minutes, are asking that the university replace the fountains with hydration stations for filling reusable water bottles. The stations are similar to $6,000 models that the university has placed on other parts of campus and is monitoring for usage.

Emory U Debuts Campus Water Reduction Competition

Emory University (GA) has tallied the results of its annual campus energy reduction competition that featured a new water reduction category this year. As a result of the competition between research, residential and other campus buildings, the university saved more than 54,000 gallons of water and experienced a $30,500 drop in utility costs during the month of October. Sponsored by the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, winning buildings will receive $1,000 toward a sustainability-related building improvement.

NY Times Highlights Campus Efforts to Ban Bottled Water

Campus campaigns to curb bottled water consumption have been hindered by contracts with beverage suppliers, says a recent article in The New York Times that highlights student efforts to ban bottled water at higher education institutions. The University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point and Seattle University are featured for their plans for a campus-wide ban on bottled water beginning fall 2011. Washington University in St. Louis started the movement last year.

U Wisconsin-Whitewater Creates Water Council

In an effort to create student awareness of the opportunities in water conservation and business, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has formed the Water Council in collaboration with the Milwaukee Water Council. The organization plans to host a series of lectures, conferences and films to increase the awareness of water conservation and hopes to serve as a mentor to other university institutions in promoting water conservation.

U California Santa Barbara Installs Sustainable Water System

The University of California, Santa Barbara has installed a portable sustainable water system. The system converts humidity into fresh water. The portable machine captures moisture from the air, then condenses, filters and stores the byproduct. Campus sustainability coordinators anticipate that the machine can significantly reduce the university’s carbon footprint over time.

Study: Habit, Availability Spurs New York U Bottled Water Use

A study by a New York University Ph.D. student found that habit, campus availability and aesthetics (taste and clarity) motivates bottled water consumption at the university. The qualitative research study, funded by the university's Green Grant program, concluded that the university consumes the equivalent of one million bottles of water a month. The research was conducted to provide an academic foundation and basis for the culture of water consumption and quality of water on campus.

U Maryland Reduces Campus Stormwater Runoff Pollution

The University of Maryland has begun efforts to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff pollution on campus. The stormwater that runs through the university ultimately makes its way to a nearby river. To help the problem, the university has built a brick pad at the most-used bus stop with pavers far enough apart that water can trickle through instead of running off. Funded by Prince George’s County and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the university also plans to build three stormwater treatment facilities on campus as part of a larger project for nutrient and sediment removal from stormwater.

U Utah Students Install Rain Gardens

Graduate students at the University of Utah have installed multiple rain gardens as a solution for water treatment and conservation. The 1,500-square-foot rain gardens are designed to treat polluted stormwater from nearby roadways and parking lots. The strategy will conserve water and keep many pollutants from entering the storm drainage and a nearby creek. The project uses native plants to filter pollutants and release clean water back into the ground.

U New Hampshire Installs Low-Flow Plumbing in Residence Halls

The University of New Hampshire has installed low-flow toilet valves, showerheads and sink faucets in three residence halls. In 2009, the three dorms used an estimated 21 million gallons. With the new plumbing, the university expects to save more than five million gallons of water a year.

U Maryland Develops Bio-Filtration System

The University of Maryland has developed a bio-filtration system to reduce urban runoff pollution in the Anacostia watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. University researchers have re-engineered rain gardens to improve the removal of phosphorous, nitrogen and other prime urban pollutants from runoff. With a $600,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Prince George's County Government, researchers will conduct a three-part demonstration project near parking lots on campus.

U San Francisco Upgrades Water Fountains

The University of San Francisco (CA) has upgraded existing water fountains to make it easier to fill up a reusable bottle. The upgrades come as the result of a three-year campaign by the student-led university Green Team to get the campus to stop selling single-use water bottles. To prepare for the lack of bottled water for purchase, the university has purchased kits to that will convert existing fountains and add a second spout to allow for easy filling.

U Texas to Decrease Water Fountain Hours

The University of Texas has announced a plan to reduce campus water fountain operation hours to save money and conserve water. Operating hours will be reduced from 17 to 10 hours per day, saving an expected one million gallons of water per year.

Fanshawe College Debuts Green Roof

Fanshawe College (ON) has installed its first living green roof. Drought-resistant perennial plants cover 850 square feet of rooftop space. The plant modules, each filled with six different types of sedum, are designed to be waterproof and impenetrable while supporting drainage and root growth. The roof will reduce noise and storm water runoff, save energy, improve air quality, provide better insulation and aid in fire prevention. Students who worked on the roof received training and professional certification in green roof installation.

North Carolina State U Installs Green Roof

North Carolina State University has completed the installation of a 3,780-foot green roof at the campus' new engineering building. The roof features 10 drought-resistant plants and will save the university an estimated 25-50 percent in heating and cooling costs.

Washington State U Students Build Green Roof

Washington State University landscape architecture students have built a green roof as part of a multi-phased display garden. The students had the opportunity to design a space, do a cost estimate on the materials and build the roof. Located atop a shade and storage pavilion, the roof was constructed almost entirely from 100-year-old recycled wood. The roof supports small drought-tolerant plants and will reduce water runoff.

U Utah Debuts Bio-Retention Garden

The University of Utah has announced the completion of a bio-retention garden. Dubbed the "Rain Garden," the plot features drought-resistant, native plant species that pool rain water, storing it underground and re-channeling it to help alleviate the burden of the university's current irrigation system. The garden was built with funding from the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund, which is collected from a portion of student fees.

Antioch U New England Launches Pervious Pavement Demo Site

Antioch University New England (NH) has unveiled a new demonstration site for pervious pavement. Pervious pavement is a stormwater management strategy that allows water from rain or snowmelt to flow through the pavement, into a stone base, and infiltrate into the native soils. The pavement reduces the amount of stormwater runoff and protects nearby surface waters from pollution. Research has shown pervious pavement to reduce the need for de-icing products by as much as 70 percent and to eliminate water pooling on pavement. The demonstration site will serve as an educational resource for students, faculty, staff, and the greater community.

California State U San Bernardino Builds Water Efficient Garden

California State University, San Bernardino has begun constructing a water conservation demonstration garden. The garden will showcase ways to conserve water with an attractive and water-efficient landscape that will thrive in the local climate. The project will be built on more than once acre of campus grounds and will utilize native and drought tolerant plants and irrigation technology. The University’s Water Resource Institute will incorporate the garden into academic programs and provide educational tours.

Florida Gulf Coast U Installs Low-Flush Toilets

Florida Gulf Coast University has installed low-flush valves on university toilets. Fifty valves have been installed in restrooms in six buildings. The University hopes to retrofit all of the older bathrooms with the low-flush valves. A reduction in utility bills will be the deciding factor.

New Mexico Highlands U Installs Rainwater Harvesting Cisterns

New Mexico Highlands University has announced plans to install rainwater harvesting cisterns on its campus. The cisterns store rainwater captured from roofs and uses the captured water to irrigate drought-tolerant landscaping for the buildings. The first underground unit will hold 90,000 gallons of water and planned cisterns will add an additional 200,000 gallons of water storage.

California State U Northridge Saves Water

California State University, Northridge has received incentive money for water-saving projects. One incentive of $108,000 was used to replace 265 urinals with waterless versions. An incentive of $347,000 was used to create a computer-based irrigation system. In addition, the University is considering rainwater harvesting and buying grey water.

Luther College Installs Low-Flow Showerheads

Luther College (IA) has installed more than 75 low-flow showerheads in campus residence halls. The project resulted from a successful student-led pilot project.

Oregon State U Students Build Green Roof

Oregon State University students have begun building a green roof on top of a storage shed as part of a landscape construction course. The green roof will help regulate temperature and minimize storm water runoff. Sensors will allow students to monitor a variety of factors including rainfall patterns.

Washington State U Installs Permeable Paving

Washington State University has installed permeable paving at its Research & Extension Center. The concrete is designed so water flows through it and into the ground beneath. The installation is part of a $1 million stormwater research effort to help revolutionize urban development.

EPA Designates North Carolina State U as Ctr of Excellence

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has designated North Carolina State University (NCSU) as a Center of Excellence for Watershed Management. To become a recognized Center of Excellence, the institution must demonstrate technical expertise in identifying and addressing watershed needs; involve students, staff, and faculty in watershed research; demonstrate the capability to involve the full suite of disciplines needed for all aspects of watershed management; and have the financial ability to become self-sustaining, the willingness to partner with other institutions, and the support from the highest levels of the organization. NCSU is the managing entity of the Water Resources Research Institute for the entire University of North Carolina system.

U Central Arkansas Installs Green Roof

University of Central Arkansas has installed a $60,000 green roof on campus. The roof includes 2,000 square-feet of various sedum plants and is designed to reduce heating and cooling costs, extend lifespan of the roof, and decrease storm water runoff. If the green roof is successful, it could be expanded throughout the campus.

U of Oklahoma Introduces Green Roof

University of Oklahoma has debuted a green roof on top of one of its research buildings. The new installation has 160 trays measuring a combined 1,280 square-feet that will hold plants, grasses, sand, and organic material. The green roof is designed to reduce both storm water runoff and energy use and cost. Depending on the conditions, the University could save 25 to 75 percent of its annual air conditioning costs.

U Southern Maine Installs Green Roof

University of Southern Maine has installed an 880-square-foot green roof on the Wishcamper Center, an academic building that houses the School of Public Service and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Eight different varieties of plants now grow in 110 trays on the structure's roof in a mixture of sand, gravel, and mineral. The green roof is designed to reduce water runoff, extend roof lifespan, and reduce heating and cooling needs.

U Utah Install Rain Garden

University of Utah students install a rain garden. The rain garden will utilize a special blend of soil that stores the rain and slowly releases it to the plants over time. The rain garden is among the first projects to be funded by the Sustainable Campus Initiative Fund. Last year, students voted to assess the fee of $2.50 per semester to fund campus sustainability initiatives.

U Washington Students & Faculty Construct Rooftop Garden

University of Washington students and faculty have constructed a rooftop garden on an existing greenhouse to demonstrate the various uses of a green roof. Three trays with different planting areas will be used to explore different ways to grow food in an urban environment. Students are interested in demonstrating that green roofs not only provide a habitat for plants and animals, but also help to alleviate potential water-flow issues. The roofs help reduce the rate at which water enters the storm system and also reduce the storm-water runoff overall.

Syracuse U Unveils Rain Garden

Syracuse University (NY) has unveiled its first campus rain garden. The Waverly Rain Garden will capture and absorb some of a nearby parking lot's storm-water runoff. This will reduce the amount of rainwater entering storm drains and help lessen storm system overloads. The garden covers 400 square feet and is capable of capturing nearly 2,000 gallons of water. A total of 55 volunteers, mostly SU and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry students, helped to build the installation. The rain garden was designed by a SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry landscape architecture graduate student, and the idea was developed by an SU student.