Eastern Kentucky University ranks fourth among colleges and universities nationally in the water category of the 2018 Sustainable Campus Index published by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
Eastern finished in a tie with nine other institutions, trailing only Princeton University, Colorado College and the University of Connecticut in its record of water use reduction and rainwater management.
In its report, AASHE said water conservation, recycling and reuse and effective rainwater management practices are critical in maintaining and protecting a finite groundwater supply. It added that pumping, delivering and treating water is a major driver of energy consumption, so institutions can help reduce energy use and the greenhouse emissions associated with energy generation by conserving water.
As part of its ongoing commitment to reduce impermeable surface area on campus, EKU meets several minimum control measures, including public education on the impact of polluted urban runoff, programs for public involvement and participation, a plan for illicit discharge detection and elimination, a program of control for construction site storm water runoff when more than 1 acre is disturbed, a program for post-construction storm water management, and responsible campus operations for good housekeeping and pollution prevention.
As a result of the University’s commitment to rainwater management, it has constructed a simulated wetland on the north side of campus to harvest rainwater from rooftop and area surrounding the Science Building, constructed the Summit Street parking lot using permeable pavers, and converted walking paths across campus to permeable surfaces.
EKU has reduced water consumption by 43.2 percent from its baseline year, thanks largely to steam line repairs.