Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State University officials say they are seeing students removing or tampering with low-flow shower heads installed in dormitories earlier this year in an effort to conserve water.
The university spent about $15,000 installing the devices in all 20 student-housing facilities. Each one cuts water flow to about a gallon per minute.
"We would love it if these issues didn't occur," Barry Olson, associate director of N.C. State's University Housing. "The fact is, we're in a residence-hall environment. We will have students who will attempt to make changes from time to time."
Although university officials say they don't have the exact numbers of incidents in which a device has been tampered with or removed, the housing department has received about 100 reports since February – many for legitimate problems about the devices.
Some students say they believe the devices use more water, instead of saving it.
"They're trying to make it more efficient, but I don't think that they think about the fact we're taking longer showers because the water pressure is low," said senior Christine Fischer.
University officials say those caught tampering with the devices could face disciplinary action. Other students say that's what should happen.
"I think they should crack down," freshman Sean Klinek said. "(They should) do what they can to just conserve the water."
Most of North Carolina is still in some form of drought, according to the latest drought map released Thursday from the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council.
Cnditions are better than this time last year, however.
Eighty-six of the 100 counties in the state are experiencing from some form of drought. Another 11 are considered dry. Last year, every county was experiencing drought conditions – 84 percent in the severe category or worse.
Housing administrators reported a 29 percent water reduction in dorms.