Water at Dickinson
Students Work to Empower Communities to Assess, Protect, and Restore Watersheds
Dickinson has programs for water conservation, management of storm water runoff, and community outreach, education and technical assistance to protect watersheds locally and statewide.
Dickinson cut its water consumption from 41.3 million gallons in 2005 to 30.6 million in 2011, a 26% reduction. Conservation measures that contributed to water use reductions include reduced watering of campus landscapes, use of native plants in landscaping that are tolerant of dry conditions, installation of ultra-low flow showerheads in the residence halls, replacement of all washers in residence halls with water and energy saving Energy STAR washers, a new laundry fee, a system that collects and reuses evaporated water from the athletic center swimming pool, elimination of trays from the dining hall, and waterless urinals and motion-activated sinks in new and renovated buildings. At the Treehouse, a grey-water system, low-flow fixtures, rain barrels and water conscious behaviors limit water use per student to half the campus wide average.
The award winning Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) uses students to develop & facilitate programs that include providing technical support to local watershed groups, K-12 environmental education, aquatic research, LeTort stormwater education project, and public education and outreach. In response to community concern and call for assistance, ALLARM has also developed a monitoring program for communities interested in assessing small streams and their watersheds for early detection of impacts from Marcellus Shale gas extraction in Pennsylvania.
Bioswales, rain gardens, retention ponds and rain barrels are used to control storm water runoff, helping to protect our local trout streams and the Chesapeake Bay and tributaries. At the Dickinson College Organic Farm, a pond collects rainwater from the barn roof and surrounding area for irrigation. A solar-powered pump pumps the water to the fields when field conditions warrant.