San Antonio is constantly looking for ways to sustain the Edwards Aquifer, and St. Mary’s University is no different.
So it’s building a rainwater harvesting system, which David Turner, Ph.D., and his students will formally unveil Friday, March 20, two days before World Water Day.
The rainwater collection tank – in the courtyard between Garni Hall and the Moody Life Sciences Center – will be revealed at 2:15 p.m., rain or shine. Refreshments will be served afterward.
A 5,050-gallon tank will collect some of nearly 240,000 gallons of rain that fall onto Garni Hall’s roof each year. With a small pump, the captured rainwater will irrigate landscaping in that section of campus.
Turner’s students proposed the project to University administration. As the first of its kind on campus, the system will save water and become the centerpiece of St. Mary’s sustainability efforts. There is talk of using similar systems in other parts of campus.
“We hope to raise campus awareness of the importance of being water-wise, so the system and the landscaping will become part of our curriculum and also support our educational outreach to elementary and high-school students,” said Turner, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences.
The idea came during a lab exercise for an Environmental Geochemistry class in spring 2013 and became a student group’s EPA contest entry that fall. Eventually a proposal ended up on the desks of University administrators, who enthusiastically supported it.