The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday January 24th

Campus Launches Water Conservation Campaign

"Every Drop Counts" wants 25 percent cut

Campus Launches Water Conservation Campaign

By Jennifer Johnson

Staff Writer

Posters, placards, stickers and a Web site - "Every Drop Counts" has all the makings of a successful campaign, including the cost of sacrifice.

The Senior Level Emergency Committee, which oversees all emergencies on campus, launched the "Every Drop Counts" campaign last week to inform faculty, staff and students about the local water emergency and to limit the amount of water used on campus.

The campaign's goal is to reduce water use on campus by 25 percent, most noticeably by urging students to take four-minute showers, turn off the water while brushing their teeth or shaving and drink bottled water.

But the University has been conserving in more stringent ways since the summer.

Carolyn Elfland, associate vice chancellor for campus services, said that although publicity for "Every Drop Counts" is just beginning to break the surface, the conservation efforts in the dining halls, residence halls and athletic fields, which have been in effect since August, are all part of the campaign.

"All of this is under one umbrella called 'Every Drop Counts,'" Elfland said. "We haven't gotten the publicity out because we're still working on it."

Elfland said the committee decided to move forward with the debut last week of the campaign's Web site -- http://www.unc.edu/depts/pubserv/

savewater. UNC Design Services also is designing buttons, stickers and posters to help promote awareness.

Elfland said the publicity costs for the campaign are minimal at about $5,000 for the whole campaign.

The real costs are incurred by the conservation measures themselves, she said.

Mike Freeman, a UNC auxiliary services official, said Carolina Dining Services is spending an extra $262,080 on conservation practices such as using disposable dishes and bottled water as well as composting. The efforts save 109,900 gallons of water per week.

The Department of Athletics also is cutting back its use of drinkable water by bringing in irrigation water from outside Chapel Hill at significantly higher costs.

Ed Phillips, director of business operations in facilities services, said the University has ordered 300 water-free toilets at a cost of $47,925 to be placed at high-use spots on campus. The committee is requesting the money from the University Budget Committee for the toilets, the publicity campaign and equipment to reduce water use in campus labs.

"Every Drop Counts" will also include a large sign set up in the Pit that will show the amount of water saved.

A forum will be held Wednesday where faculty and Orange Sewer and Water Authority officials will discuss the impact of the drought on Chapel Hill and the Piedmont region of North Carolina.

The University Editor can be reached at udesk@unc.edu.

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