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Drinking Water and Water Conservation

Although more than 75 percent of the Earth's surface is made up of water, only 2.8 percent of the Earth's water is available for human consumption.


A multimillion renovation of the water plant was performed in 2009 with funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) via the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP). Microinfiltration was put into place, which was expected to save eight million gallons of water per year.

Our system is also connected to the Town of Red Hook Water District # 1. This source is currently used during peak demand conditions and for emergency situations such as fire fighting. In 2010, it was used during our water plant upgrade.

 Report Year


Water produced from Sawkill Creek

Water bought from Red Hook wells

Water used for backwashing of filters

Total usage

Water usage per person per day

2009 2,440 35,759,823 30,000,000 600,000 66,359,823 75








2011 2,460 28,181,110 4,000,000 100,000 32,281,110 36

From 2005 to 2010, we reduced our water use by over 20 percent. (Click here to read the STARS report.) However, nearly 95 percent of the water we use is hidden in our diet—something we do not yet measure at Bard.

Bard’s Landscape and Arboretum Program incorporates xeriscape landscape techniques—using drought-tolerant plants wherever possible, as well as weather-informed irrigation. (Click here to read the STARS report.)

To decrease our use of water, we incorporate low-usage fixtures and plumbing equipment.

Filtered Water

In an effort to decrease the environmental impact of trucking in bottled water—while improving the taste and safety of the water—we have updated how water is provided in certain campus buildings. Bottled water coolers have been replaced by in-line filtration water dispensers. These units will still provide hot and cold water, but do so without the need to be refilled with five-gallon bottles of water. The in-line system uses our existing water supply, which comes from the Sawkill Creek and is treated by our state-of-the-art drinking water plant (upgraded using American Investment and Recovery Act monies last year). Click here to review the model's nine-step filtration process).