The Southeast is facing its worst drought in more than a century, and Durham is no exception.
The city, like most in the region, has continued to bump up water-use restrictions. Early in the fall, North Carolina's governor called on citizens to cut back water use by 30 percent. And in early December, with fewer than sixty days' worth of water remaining in Durham, the city moved to cut private water use in half.
Duke, the largest consumer of water in the county, has demonstrated a long-term commitment to conservation, but administrators note that additional large cuts are challenging, especially considering that medical facilities—where cuts could be potentially dangerous—account for almost half of water use at Duke. Still, members of the Duke community took many new steps, some large and some small, to cut down their water use, including:
"More than anything … it is human behavior that will have the greatest impact on water usage—and making choices about when, why, and how to use water," Eddie Hull, dean of residence life, told The Chronicle.
Thinking ahead to long-term solutions, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions presented a report (www.duke.edu/sustainability/water) to state officials identifying six strategies for improving water management and conservation.
Duke and the Drought
January 31, 2008