ARLINGTON -- Saving water at the University of Texas at Arlington is as simple as taking a shower.
It's not as counterintuitive as it sounds. The campus is installing 1,500 low-flow showerheads in residence halls and other student housing. The showerheads were provided by the city and are part of ongoing efforts to promote water conservation and sustainable practices.
"It's an easy way to save water," said Dustan Compton, conservation program coordinator for Arlington. "You can change habits, but it is difficult to change habits. It's easy to change fixtures."
The city paid about $4,200 for 1,600 showerheads that were given to UTA, Compton said. He said they use 1.5 gallons of water per minute, compared with 2.5 gallons per minute for standard showerheads.
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Nick Schroeder, UTA's facilities engineer, said the university has been working to implement sustainability programs on campus. The showerhead program with the city developed as the university was investigating low-flow fixtures.
"We are always looking to save energy -- to do things that are green," Schroeder said.
UTA is installing the fixtures during the summer and expects them to be in place when students arrive in the fall. The university expects to use about 14.2 million fewer gallons of water each year, saving more than $100,000 a year in water, sewer and natural gas fees.
UTA says the average student's shower lasts about 12.5 minutes at 107.5 degrees.
About 100 of the donated showerheads will be installed at gyms, locker rooms and student housing under construction in the College Park District, said Don Lange, UTA's director of auxiliary operations and logistics. The 20-acre district includes a special events center, retail, student housing and an 1,800-car parking garage.
"We are going to try and incorporate them in our new projects," Lange said.
Schroeder said they wanted the change to be seamless for students.
"Unless you tell them they are using something that is saving water, I'm not sure students are going to notice on a day-to-day basis," Schroeder said.
Eric Neilson, assistant director for apartment life, said he and his staff -- residence directors who live inside the student housing they oversee -- tested some sample low-flow showerheads before the university and city combined efforts. He said he doesn't think students will notice a change.
"I think the exciting part is this does give us the ability to conservationists here on campus," Neilson said.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675