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News Tip: ECU working to conserve water; faculty experts available to discuss drought

GREENVILLE, NC   (Oct. 23, 2007)   —   On Oct. 22, N.C. Governor Mike Easley asked North Carolinians to cut their water use in half by Oct. 31 to conserve this valuable resource during the state’s continuing drought. He has dubbed this push for conservation, “Operation Halve-It.”

At East Carolina University, staff members continue to implement measures to reduce the water used on campus. According to George Harrell, senior associate vice chancellor for campus operations, the following steps have been taken:

• Lawn watering has ceased on campus, except for new plants that need intermittent watering for about 30 days to survive and begin establishing a root system.

• The water wall and the cloud machine near Joyner Library along with the outside recreational pool at the Student RecreationalCenter are all off line. The pools at Minges Coliseum and the indoor pool at the Student Rec Center are used for academic classes and remain open.

• The hanging baskets on campus will be minimally maintained through Homecoming events this weekend and “then will be on their own,” he said.

• All campus vehicle washing has ceased, except for refuse trucks.

• Washing building exteriors has ceased, except, if needed, to remove graffiti.

• Low-flow shower heads had already been installed in all but one residence hall. All other showers are being checked to assure proper water flow.

• Work orders concerning “drips” are being given priority handling.

Harrell can be reached at (252) 328-6858 or

Also, ECU has faculty experts who can talk about the drought and its effect on eastern North Carolina and the southeastern United States.

• Dr. Scott Curtis, assistant professor of geography and assistant director for the Center for Natural Hazards Research. He can speak on the El Niño and La Niña climate states and their impact on extreme precipitation events, which include hurricanes and drought. His research also focuses on tropical climate variability with emphasis on precipitation and the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). He can be reached at (252) 328-2088

• Dr. Mike O’Driscoll, assistant professor of geology. His research focuses on wetlands, rivers and ground water systems in North Carolina’s coastal plain and the effects of urbanization on river-groundwater interactions in the region. He can be reached at (252) 328-5578 or
• Dr. Richard Spruill, associate professor of geology, has been studying eastern North Carolina’s groundwater system for almost 20 years. A hydrogeologist, Spruill has worked with regional municipalities regarding their water resources for years and is working with Greenville Utilities on a project to help recharge the groundwater in the region. He can be reached at (252) 328-4399 or


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481