Santa Clara University

sustainability at scu

Harvesting the rain

Rain gardens manage stormwater runoff by catching rainwater where it falls. Small depressions filled with soils and native plants filter and absorb the rainwater that runs off the building's roof and other hard surfaces.

The design of rain gardens is based on the hydrologic function of forest habitat, where a spongy layer soaks up water and allows it to slowly permeate the soil. This feature is instrumental to Graham’s water conservation and pollution reduction efforts.

Rain gardens outside Graham Hall. Photo from SCU Office of Sustainability.

Stormwater is harmful because it carries pollutants such as oil, dirt, chemicals, and lawn fertilizers directly to streams and rivers, where they seriously harm water quality. Graham's rain gardens will be instrumental in limiting the amount of polluted stormwater that reaches fresh water sources and compromises water quality.

For more information about SCU’s water conservation efforts, visit the Water Conservation page on the Office of Sustainability website.

Read more about Water Use in Graham Hall.