Water Conservation Measures

Meditations and Musings

— Chancellor's Blog —

Water Conservation Measures

Dear UNL community –

As you may know, due to the flooding along the Platte River and the stress this has placed on the water supply for the City of Lincoln, the city has issued a Level Two mandatory water restriction. As one of the largest water users in the City, we had already begun taking cooperative steps to reduce water usage following conversations with city leaders over the weekend and are implementing additional actions today.

We would ask everyone in our university community to take whatever personal steps you can to help conserve water during this challenging time.

We are fortunate that our water usage is already greatly decreased this week because of Spring Break, with approximately 400 students in University Housing facilities instead of 6,000. This includes students utilizing housing at Selleck Quadrangle because they were unable to return home due to the floods across Nebraska. Cather Dining Hall is the only dining hall open this week and will be using disposable tableware to minimize washing.

Our Campus Recreation facilities are encouraging the use of bottled water and asking users to limit showers. We will be limiting laundry services across the campus to only what is essential. Our campus greenhouses will reduce water usage as much as possible.

With most classrooms not in use this week, we are lowering the temperatures in vacant classrooms to reduce requirements for steam heat and chill water use. As an institution, we are able to use our Thermal Energy Storage tanks (TES) to minimize city water input for cooling, and we will recharge tanks overnight to prevent impact on peak water usage times. We are postponing preventative maintenance activities for facilities or transportation that require water. Any critical maintenance or cleaning will occur overnight.

While we are fortunate that our City and East campuses have escaped the devastating flooding facing many areas of Nebraska, and that our other Extension and Agricultural Research facilities avoided major damage – we are committed to being a good partner to the City of Lincoln and the residents of Nebraska as our state deals with the impacts of this natural disaster.

If you have any questions, or suggestions for additional ways to conserve water, please email sustainability@unl.edu.