Lafayette is uniquely situated near the confluence of the Delaware and Lehigh rivers and the Bushkill Creek, providing a liquid laboratory for student-faculty studies on stream chemistry, hydrology, and aquatic biology.
Repeated recent flooding of the Delaware River, and the College’s purchase of properties in the floodplain at the bottom of College Hill, has heightened awareness of flooding and the consequences of infrastructure development near waterways.
A variety of faculty at the College are actively engaged in the field of water resources research, and regularly incorporate local projects with students into their work. There have been studies on the Bushkill Creek related to a proposal to remove several small dams near campus, the rainwater catchment system and solar-powered irrigation system at LaFarm, and the storm water wetland constructed at Sullivan Park.
A number of water-related initiatives have been completed on campus, and water conservation is a focus of the campus energy plan. Bottle-filling stations with water filtration have been installed in water fountains in 12 campus buildings (with more on the way) to reduce the use of bottled water. Low-flow showerheads and bathroom facilities have been installed in many residence halls. The College works to reduce storm water runoff by employing best-management practices, including installation of a green roof on Acopian Engineering Center, and the reduction of impervious surfaces on the Quad during its 2013 renovation.