by Jenny Gerow
Report leaking faucets and toilets to Housing Maintenance
Use the washing machine or dishwasher only with full loads.
Turn off the water while brushing teeth or shaving.
Take shorter showers, four minutes or less.
Dont use the toilet as a trash can.
Plant native plants and grasses that require less irrigation.
Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.
Keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator instead of running
the tap for cold water.
Give leftover water to the plants instead of pouring it
down the drain.
you have a favorite water conservation tip? E-mail
it to us, and well share it with our readers.
U.Va. cracks down on water use
By Matt Kelly
before local authorities announced mandatory water restrictions
Aug. 22, the University had begun taking steps to limit its water
the biggest water-savers already implemented: new washing machines
in University housing, installed over the summer, that could reduce
consumption by more than 3 million gallons annually.
Chief Housing Officer Marshall Hunt said U.Va. and Coldwell &
Gregory, a firm that leases washing machines, have installed 216
Maytag Neptune energy- and water-efficient washers into the University
residence halls. Hunt said the machines would use 2.1 million
gallons of water annually, saving about 3.2 million gallons from
what the previous machines used.
water officials have expressed concerns about the impact of students
water usage. With reservoir levels dropping toward 70 percent
of capacity, Charlottesville and Albemarle County officials imposed
mandatory water conservation measures, forbidding outdoor watering,
washing cars, filling swimming pools and hosing down sidewalks,
driveways and parking lots. Restaurants must serve water only
rainfall is at 66 percent of normal for the year, but the drought
actually started in July 1998, when the region started accumulating
its water deficit, said Jerry Stenger, research coordinator with
the State Climatology Office.
the last 50 months, only 12 have had above-normal rainfall,
Stenger said. This leaves the region short about 45.06 inches
of rain, nearly a years total rainfall in normal times.
Defibaugh, manager of the water department for the Rivanna Water
and Sewer Authority, said area reservoirs were being depleted
at the rate by about 1 percent of capacity per day, with extreme
heat accelerating the demand. Hurricane rains would be needed
at this point to bring water levels to normal, he said.
University has halted outdoor irrigation, turned off ornamental
fountains, deferred indefinitely fall plantings and stopped vehicular
washing. Use of water at construction sites and athletic fields
has been limited to the minimum required for regulatory and safety
reasons, said Cheryl Gomez, director of utilities for Facilities
Motto, who manages energy and water conservation for U.Va., said
the Universitys campaign to reduce water use includes advising
students to take shorter showers, not running the water while
shaving or brushing teeth, and washing full loads of clothing
or dishes. Motto said tent cards have been placed on dining hall
tables and hang cards on doorknobs to remind students.
is also spearheading a plan to replace aerators on University
faucets. He said aerators reduce the faucet flow, normally three
to four gallons a minute, to about 1.5 gallons a minute.
can make permanent changes in a persons behavior,
Gomez said. This goes for energy use as well.
should report leaks or running faucets, Gomez said. An earlier
survey of water pipes uncovered a few minor leaks, and there are
plans to replace older water pipes on Grounds. Already, many water
lines at the McCormick Road dormitories have been replaced.
University, which purchases more than 90 percent of its water
from the City of Charlottesville, uses roughly 29 percent of the
citys water supply, Gomez said. In the last fiscal year,
the University used 542 million gallons of water. A comparison
of water usage between April 2001 and April 2002 shows an 85,000-gallon
reduction, though Gomez noted that could be weather-related, since
much of the Universitys water is used in heating and cooling.
Irrigation accounts for only 1.5 to 2 percent of the Universitys
water usage, she noted.
are water deficits around the world, she said. There
will always be people who think this doesnt have any impact
on them, but I have a high regard for the students. They get involved
with things, like recycling.