Three months ago, Brad Ives, the associate vice chancellor at University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill for utility services, faced the kind of phone call that’s almost unimaginable: His county water utility told him the university had to stop using water. A cascade of problems forced UNC-CH to turn off water to its campus — even to the toilets — and close the school.

Ives and his staff scrambled to manage everything from fire protection for a campus of 730 acres and 300 buildings, the traffic as 42,000 students and staff sought to leave, and to provide some basic food service and portable toilets for those who couldn’t leave. “When you talk about ‘water security,’ that brought the point home for us.” Ives lives in Chapel Hill.


“Had we not figured out a way to solve our water problems, the whole university would have been stuck at the size it was in 2008. There just was no more water. We had to connect the ability of the university to grow to solving the water problem.”

– Brad Ives

Now at UNC-CH, they survive on less water than falls on their campus as rain. With the potential for a longer outage or a Flint-like contamination, Ives knows we cannot take our water supply for granted.

Learn from creative innovators like Ives at Water Leaders Summit 2017. Registration closes May 19.

– Charles Fishman


This post was tagged under: Brad Ives, Charles Fishman, Water Leaders Summit, Water Security