Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
I appreciate the Thresher's coverage of this historic drought and the editorial board's call for water conservation in the colleges. But I was surprised that you think Rice's water conservation projects are a new drought-driven interest. The university has actively implemented water conservation projects for well over 10 years. Starting in the late 1990s, most of the toilets on campus were retrofitted or replaced with more efficient fixtures. More than 400 dual-flush water-efficient toilets were included in the designs for the BRC, the Gibbs Recreation Center and Duncan and McMurtry Colleges. Brockman Hall for Physics features urinals that use just one pint of water per flush instead of the typical one gallon per flush. The Rice Children's Campus was designed with a rainwater collection system that stores rooftop runoff in a below-ground cistern for reuse in irrigation. And our first condensate harvesting system, which was well-reported in Brooke Bullock's article, began collecting water from the BRC's air handling units in the fall of 2008 for reuse in the South Plant's cooling towers.
I encourage students to use the Rice Endowment for Sustainable Energy Technology (RESET) as a vehicle for proposing and funding student-led water conservation projects, as Martel undergraduate Doris Lee did this past fall. We also welcome student ideas and suggestions for water conservation via http://sustainability.rice.edu. Thank you in advance for everyone's participation in helping to conserve water at Rice.
Richard R. Johnson
Director of Energy and Sustainability Rice University
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