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Students damaging low-flow devices at N.C. State

Posted August 28, 2008

— 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.


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  • timothymozingo Aug 29, 2008

    It think you are actually using more water with these low flow devices because it takes longer to take a shower with them.

  • fletchermse Aug 29, 2008

    The shower heads there were bad enough before they put this stuff in. No wonder students are removing them.

  • haggis basher Aug 29, 2008

    "First of all, if you are a guy and taking a 5 minute shower, then you need to work on your washing skills. I can take a 2 minute shower and clean every single part of my body"

    Some bodies have bigger parts than others :) This is silly, low flow showerheads are pathetic. A good shower is one of the basics of civilised life. Its long past the time to build another reservoir or close the gates to new residents of Wake County.

  • think01 Aug 29, 2008

    Wow, so vaulter and pleshy are here representing the two absolute extremes of shower taking. 2 minutes?!? 45 minutes?!? 45 minutes twice a day?!?!?!? Wow.

  • bs101fly Aug 29, 2008

    we want to take a good shower, not run around in a circle for an hour trying to get wet.
    the damage shall continue!!!

  • odell Aug 29, 2008

    State students take showers? I didn't think that they were used to indoor plumbing.

    (Just stirring up the State fans. Blast me with your snappy UNC comebacks.) :)

  • foetine Aug 29, 2008

    Think how much water was wasted on NC State's football players getting to shower. Those guys should have to earn their soap time.

  • pleshy Aug 29, 2008

    Conserve water by limiting my shower? Nope - I still take a 30 -45 minute shower everday. Sometimes 2 in a day. However, I don't water my grass. So I assume it even out. The only part I feel guilty about is letting the shower run while I brush my teeth so I can get in when the water is hot.

  • Timbo Aug 29, 2008

    I don't believe for one minute that a governmental agency would come up with an untenable solution to an alleged problem.

    Nor do I believe the solution put forth by the governmental agency doesn't solve the problem it is intended to solve.

  • patrick85ed Aug 29, 2008

    If we would just take some notes from the Alaskan pipeline and install a series of large interconnected pipes from coast to coast and connect the major metropolitan areas of the country together then when one section of the country floods we could pump that water to drought striken areas. It would be costly and take many years to complete but we could help both the flooded areas by removing the floodwaters and serve the drought striken areas. Of course any common sense never makes it through congress (the real power brokers of government). Just a thought.