Students have removed some of the low-flow shower heads the University installed last year to conserve water during the drought, but Barry Olson, associate director of Housing facilities, said any altered fixtures will be fixed.
"We're going to be coming back behind them and replacing it," Olson said. "We're still in the grips of the drought and we will be for the projected future."
The University installed low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators last school year, and Olson said it resulted in a 29-percent reduction in water usage in residence halls.
Chelsea Jester, a sophomore in fashion and textile management and Turlington Hall resident, said students in her dorm had removed the low-flow fixtures on shower heads.
"People know how to fix them," she said.
Zachary Thompson, another Turlington resident and junior in arts application, was one of several students who said the fixtures don't help conserve because "you just take longer showers" with them.
"I take five-minute showers [before]," he said. "When we had [the low-flow fixtures] I took twenty-minute showers."
Katy Walls, a freshman in communication, said the fixtures "make the shower[ing] process two times longer."
Students are also frustrated with the low-flow aerators on dorm room faucets, according to Tim Clark, a sophomore in material science engineering.
"When I have to wash a dish, it takes forever," he said.
Steven Scovell, a sophomore in economics who lives in Alexander Residence Hall, said someone had removed one of the men's shower-head fixtures in his building, and he had heard all the women's fixtures in his hall had been altered.
"They haven't been off that long," he said. "If [Facilities] puts one back on, the people that took it off will probably take it off again."
According to Olson, Housing could take disciplinary actions against students who have altered shower heads if it could pinpoint one particular responsible student.
He said there will be an educational campaign, probably in the next month, to inform students of ways they can conserve.
"Our fear is that the assumption is that the drought is over," Olson said. "With rain coming down today, students assume we can go back to business as usual. That's very short-sighted because we have a long-term requirement to conserve water at every turn."
Housing will not receive a water bill to compare this semester's usage to last year until October, he said, but low-flow fixtures will be permanent.
"The days of high-flow shower heads and sink aerators are gone," he said.
Students have not given Housing a negative response for the fixtures, Olson said, with the exception of two letters he received last year.
"The response from parents has been very positive," he said.
The project to install low-flow fixtures last year cost the University $15,000, according to Olson, and it spent more recently to re-do the toilet system.
"We have purchased about $100,000 worth of toilet fixtures and piping fixtures and valves to attempt to bring the entire Housing system in compliance with low-flow requirements," he said.
While these new fixtures could use less water, and make for lower water bills, Olson said there is a potential for much higher city utility prices.
If the increases are high enough, it could mean the University breaks even instead of saving money off the new fixtures, he said.
It would cost $5 to replace a low-flow shower head, and $2 for a faucet aerator, he said.
According to Scovell, the University should focus more on educating students about smaller tips, such as turning off the faucet while brushing one's teeth.
In addition to "educational conservation promotion," Olson said the University must "continue to monitor building systems and look for ways to address conservation on a systematic level."
Correspondent Delisa Hawkes contributed to this story