The 2007-2008 drought affected the entire state of North Carolina. During that period, many changes were made on UNC’s campus. Students were encouraged to reduce water use, leaking appliances were fixed, and new water-saving technology was installed.
But the effort to conserve water didn’t stop when the drought ended.
UNC made the campus theme “Water in Our World” from 2012-2014. Many projects were geared towards water research or water conservation plans.
And the efforts don’t stop there either.
“Chancellor Folt has embraced the sustainability plan. Expect to hear her talking about the Triple Zero Plan soon,” said Kristin Blank-White.
Blank-White is the Research and Outreach Manager in UNC’s sustainability office. She says the plan, which is expected to be released soon, will advocate for UNC having water neutrality: zero net energy, zero waste, zero greenhouse gas emissions.
UNC will work to reuse water as much as possible so it can be resilient in times of drought.
“UNC does a really good job of using reclaimed water,” said Dr. Amy Cooke. Dr. Cooke, an environmental studies professor at UNC, teaches a course called Water and Human Rights. She says not everywhere in the state is as good at reusing water as UNC is.
“This is actually unusual in North Carolina. What seems normal here is not normal everywhere.”
The following gallery showcases some of UNC’s current water saving strategies.
Although UNC’s theme is no longer “Water in our World”, the water conservation efforts will continue for years to come. Expect to see more projects in the future.