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Pomona College's Bioswales Capture Rainwater and Help Fight Drought

Bioswales at Pomona College

Today’s downpour is helping Pomona College to do its part to fight the drought and conserve much-needed groundwater. As part of its extensive sustainability program, the College recently added a series of bioswales – special catch areas in the landscape – to capture rain runoff and recharge the aquifer.

With the rain coming down, the bioswales are flush with water that will soak into the ground instead of running into storm drains.

The series of bioswales are clustered in three locations around campus, including next to the College’s parking structure at First Street and Columbia Avenue. “It replenishes the aquifer,” says assistant director of grounds and housekeeping Kevin Quanstrom. “It goes right into the ground water. It’s what would happen if we didn’t have all this development in Southern California.”

In addition to the bioswales, the College also captures rain runoff from its LEED-platinum Pomona and Sontag residence halls. That water is piped to a catch area nearby, where it goes into the aquifer. And, in some spots, Pomona is removing concrete or asphalt to make use of special permeable paving to allow water to soak into the soil beneath. In just one project last summer, 51,000 square feet of asphalt was removed.