Water is among the most vital and limited natural resources.
To aid in regional and national conservation efforts, NC State has reduced its water use by 50 percent since 2001. With droughts and water shortages becoming more commonplace in the United States, NC State will continue to increase its efficiency while also making advances to improve the quality of stormwater on campus.
NC State has a state-mandated goal to reduce water consumption by 50 percent from 2001 to 2015. Multi-faceted efforts include installing aerators and other water volume-reducing devices to plumbing fixtures, using smart irrigation systems that reduced water use by 40 percent, and implementing trayless dining halls that have saved 51,000 gallons of water per week since 2008.
When possible, NC State uses water harvesting to meet non-potable water demands. Cisterns at Jordan and Biltmore Halls, Talley Student Union, Wolf Ridge Apartments and Yarbrough Utility Plant collect rainwater, which is used for campus irrigation, power washing and cooling utility plants. Condensate from HVAC systems is also collected and reused. A special water recovery system at Cates Utility Plant saves millions of gallons a year, and a new pipeline on Centennial Campus will supply reuse water (high quality water that has not been treated to safety levels for drinking) for cooling towers at Centennial Campus Utility Plant and for toilet flushing at James B. Hunt Jr. Library.
Like many municipalities, NC State incorporates best management practices to address stormwater quality and quantity on campus. The goal of this effort is to reduce pollutants — such as heavy metals, sediment, nutrients, oil and toxic substances — from entering local waterways.
NC State has many ongoing research studies related to water. The Annual Water Resources, Coastal and Environmental Engineering Research Symposium features many of the research projects conducted by students in Water Resources, Coastal and Environmental Engineering. There’s also active research in Stormwater Engineering and the Water Resources Research Institute at NC State supports statewide outreach and research related to water resources.
What You Can Do
Shorten Your Shower
Nearly 1 in every 5 gallons of water used indoors in the United States goes down the shower drain. So if you didn’t think that 25-minute shower you take matters, think again. Set a timer to see how long you really do stay in the shower (it’s longer than you think). A 10-minute shower is about 25 gallons of water. Every minute you shorten it, you save 2.5 gallons.
Turn off the Tap
Did you know that most people use 70 gallons of water a day? In the bathroom, turn off the tap while shaving or brushing teeth. And if you wash dishes by hand, slow the flow while you’re scrubbing. By turning off the tap while you’re not actually using water, you’ll reduce your daily water use.
Fix it Fast
Small leaks can add up to gallons of water lost per day. Common types of leaks include leaking toilet flappers and dripping faucets. Find a leak on campus? Report it. A leaky showerhead that drips once every 6 seconds will waste 500+ gallons of water per year. You could run your dishwasher 60 times with that.