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Appalachian conserves water despite robust water system

water_t.jpgBOONE—Appalachian State University has implemented water-saving measures because of the state’s drought, even though its water system remains robust.

Greg Lovins, interim vice chancellor for business affairs, said the university no longer washes state vehicles, has stopped watering athletics fields, and has stopped or reduced watering plants. Low-flow shower heads and toilets have been installed in residence halls as the halls have been renovated. Physical plant employees also lowered the flush rates where possible in the restrooms in academic buildings.

“Even though we don’t have a water shortage on our campus, we want to set a good example and be good citizens,” said Greg Lovins, interim vice chancellor for business affairs.

D06_08water34_t2.jpgA $3.2 million upgrade to Appalachian State University’s water treatment plant was completed in 2006. A series of four computer-controlled filtration units can each filter 360 gallons of water a minute. The facility has the capacity to treat and distribute up to two million gallons of water a day. However, water use on campus averages 500,000 gallons a day. (Appalachian photo by University Photographer Mike Rominger)

Those measures, coupled with student awareness of the need to conserve water, further reduced average water use 600,000 gallons a month from June to October 2007, compared to the same time last year.

“We are working to find even more savings,” Lovins said.

Appalachian is one of two universities in the University of North Carolina system that owns and operates its own water treatment facility. The treatment facility has a 300-million gallon reservoir and the capacity to treat and distribute two million gallons a day. Daily water use averages 500,000 gallons a day.