Program Areas
Quick Reference
Water Efficiency

Clear drop of water splashing.

Included in the Water Efficiency Program Area are tools, techniques, and approaches for improving water use efficiency for both potable and non-potable water resources.

Executive Order (EO) 13834, Efficient Federal Operations, was signed by President Trump on 17 May 2018. Section 8 of this EO revokes EO 13693.

In relation to energy and environmental performance, EO 13834 states that it is the policy of the United States that agencies shall meet such statutory requirements in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment.

Section 2, of EO 13834 directs federal facilities to continue the following efforts:

  • Reducing potable and non-potable water consumption, and comply with stormwater management requirements;
  • Meeting statutory requirements relating to the consumption of renewable energy and electricity;
  • Utilizing performance contracting to achieve water goals;
  • Tracking and reporting on performance improvements, cost reductions, water savings, and other appropriate performance measures.
The Implementing Instructions for EO 13834, issued April 2019, provides instructions to Federal agencies regarding the implementation of EO 13834 including agency planning, reporting requirements, and accountability. Note that in these implementing instructions, the terms "must" and "shall" convey statutory or regulatory requirements; "instruct" conveys directions to implement EO 13834; "should" or "may" convey recommended best practices for efficient and effective implementation (Section 1, para B.)

In relation to Water Efficiency, the implementing instructions define the applicable Progress Metrics as follow.

  • Potable water intensity, measured in gallons per gross square foot (GSF) of Federal building space.
  • Performance Measures

  • Achieved 20 percent reduction relative to FY 2007 and demonstrates annual progress for each fiscal year.
  • Progress Milestones

  • Agencies will identify targeted reduction for the next FY in the annual Sustainability Plans.

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Regulations, Guidance, and Policy
Dated February 2016, this document updates and replaces the December 2008 Guiding Principles to: reflect the evolution of sustainable building design, construction, and operating practices since 2008;increase the economic and environmental benefits of Federal investments in facilities; enhance occupant health, wellness, and productivity; include climate resilience in building design, construction, and operations, and protect Federal facilities investments from the potential impacts of climate change; and provide information on tracking agency green building performance.
Dated February 2016, this document updates and replaces the December 2008 Guiding Principles to: 1) Reflect the evolution of sustainable building design, construction, and operating practices since 2008, 2) Incorporate other building-related E.O. 13693 requirements, 3) Increase the economic and environmental benefits of Federal investments in facilities, 4) Enhance occupant health, wellness, and productivity, 5) Include climate resilience in building design, construction, and operations, and protect Federal facilities investments from the potential impacts of climate change, and 6) Provide information on tracking agency green building performance.
To assist agencies with the transition between the 2008 Guiding Principles and the updated 2016 Guiding Principles, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) developed a crosswalk guidance document to explain and highlight the differences between the 2016 and 2008 versions of the Guiding Principles for existing buildings. The crosswalk is based on the evaluation criteria included in the Guiding Principles compliance document and provide an overall comparison of the major scoring and applicability changes between the two versions. It walks through each of the 2016 Guiding Principles and highlight major changes or significant new requirements.
To assist agencies with the transition between the 2008 Guiding Principles and the updated 2016 Guiding Principles, the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) developed a crosswalk guidance document to explain and highlight the differences between the 2016 and 2008 versions of the Guiding Principles for new construction and modernization. The crosswalk is based on the evaluation criteria included in the Guiding Principles compliance document and provide an overall comparison of the major scoring and applicability changes between the two versions. It walks through each of the 2016 Guiding Principles and highlight major changes or significant new requirements.
This map provides information about rainwater harvesting regulations throughout the United States. FEMP designed the map to help agencies decide where to implement rainwater harvesting projects. The interactive map lets users click on a state to learn about the state's rainwater harvesting regulations and technical resources.
Description: This document is a companion to the revised "2016 Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings" and metrics for agencies to use to evaluate compliance with the Guiding Principles.
Signed by President Obama on 30 April 2015, this act mandates the GSA Administrator develop model commercial leasing provisions and best practices to promote energy efficiency and water efficiency in Federal and other buildings. This act also amends the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975.
Full text of the Energy Independence and Security Act, signed December 19, 2007 by President Bush, for the purposes of moving the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government.
Efficient Federal Operations
17 May 2018
It is the policy of the United States that agencies shall meet such statutory requirements in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment. In implementing this policy, each agency shall prioritize actions that reduce waste, cut costs, enhance the resilience of Federal infrastructure and operations, and enable more effective accomplishment of its mission. This EO rescinds EO 13693.
These instructions issued by the Chairman of the CEQ to Federal agencies for meeting energy and environmental performance requirements in a manner that increases efficiency, optimizes performance, eliminates unnecessary use of resources, and protects the environment, as required under E.O. 13834.
This FEMP-sponsored March 2015 document provides facility/energy managers and practitioners with useful information about energy and resource metering, the relevant metering technologies, communications, applications for data, and ideas for developing and implementing an effective metering plan. In addition, the guide assists in the implementation of metering requirements in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
This CEQ website links to relevant U.S. codes, public laws, guidance, and resources to assist agencies in implementing E.O. 13834.
In 2011 and 2012 the Alliance for Water Efficiency gathered data to update its State Information pages. The new information was generated via an updated survey and was used as the basis for the Water Efficiency and Conservation State Scorecard report. The website includes links to each of the state summary pages, which include any pertinent information for each of the survey questions. The survey questions are listed on the page and the page include names of states with strong examples.
Supporting Information and Tools
Databases/Software Tools
The Tool is an Excel-based model that can evaluate the water savings, costs, and benefits of conservation programs for a specific water utility, using either English or Metric units. Additionally, it provides a standardized methodology for water savings and benefit-cost accounting, and includes a library of pre-defined conservation activities from which users can build conservation programs.
A part of the SFTool, this tool is designed to help identify upgrades and energy conservation measures that can enhance your building's sustainability. Get started by selecting your building size and climate zone. The resulting information provides estimated payback time, capital cost, energy savings, and cost savings for a variety of potential upgrades and conservation measures.
This system is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility and federal incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency. Established in 1995 and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, DSIRE is an ongoing project of the N.C. Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
This Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) system tracks agency performance of energy and water evaluations, project implementation and follow-up measures, and annual building benchmarking requirements. This data is collected as part of FEMP's responsibility for tracking Federal agency progress toward meeting Section 432 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 for Federal facility energy and water management and benchmarking. Public reports and data are made available.
Developed by EPA, this online tool is used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions. Use it to benchmark the performance of one building or a whole portfolio of buildings, all in a secure online environment.
EPA's Green Infrastructure Wizard offers you access to a repository of EPA-sourced Green Infrastructure tools and resources designed to support and promote sustainable water management and community planning decisions. The tools and resources available through GIWiz will help you analyze problems, understand management options, calculate design parameters, analyze costs and benefits, evaluate tradeoffs, engage stakeholders, and/or develop education and outreach campaigns. GIWiz is made possible through a cross-agency collaboration involving EPA's Office of Research and Development, Office of Policy, Office of Water, and Regional staff.
This DOE database provides up-to-date information on marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy, both in the U.S. and around the world. The database includes wave, tidal, current, and ocean thermal energy, and contains information on the various energy conversion technologies, companies active in the field, and development of projects in the water.
This portal provides access to groundwater data from multiple, dispersed databases in a web-based mapping application. The portal contains current and historical data including water levels, water quality, lithology, and well construction.The portal is sponsored by the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI).
NHD is the surface water component of The National Map. The NHD is a digital vector dataset used by geographic information systems (GIS). It contains features such as lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, canals, dams and streamgages. These data are designed to be used in general mapping and in the analysis of surface-water systems.
These pages provide access to water-resources data collected at approximately 1.5 million sites in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The system features water maps including droughts, floods, streamflow and ground water response to climate change.
The Federal Energy Management Program's Water Project Screening Tool enables federal agencies to quickly screen sites for water efficiency opportunities. General information related to a site's water use is entered into the tool and recommendations on potential water efficiency projects are provided. The tool provides a qualitative score that indicates low to high water savings potential for nine end-uses.
The newsletter of the American Water Resources Association.
This journal addresses the wide scope of current water efficiency projects as well as possible options and opportunities for future implementation. Subscription to the magazine is free.
The newsletter for the Alliance for Water Efficiency. Each issue contains a collection of the latest information of water efficiency and conservation from the US, Canada, and around the globe.
This library contains on-line resources on water conservation and efficiency. Subject matter covered in the library include: drought management, alternative supplies, conservation programs, water saving tips, residential efficiency, and metering.
The Alliance is a stakeholder-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water.
Founded in 1964, the American Water Resources Association is a non-profit professional association dedicated to the advancement of men and women in water resources management, research, and education.
AWWA is an international nonprofit educational association dedicated to safe water. Founded in 1881 as a forum for water professionals to share information and learn from each other for the common good, AWWA has evolved into the world's largest organization of water professionals.
FEMP's mission is to assist agencies in water efficiency and meeting Federal mandates. They provide information on Best Management Practices, Case Studies, and Federal, state, and local resources for water efficiency and management.
Not-for-profit technical and educational organization created more than 75 years ago to continually assess and study the quality of the global water environment. WEF commissions research studies about the sources and causes of pollution, examines each new water treatment procedure, and educates the general public and water quality professionals on new techniques and solutions.
A public-private partnership program sponsored by EPA. Its mission is to protect the future of our nation's water supply by promoting and enhancing the market for water-efficient products and services
Lessons Learned
Award Winners
FGC awards are given in two categories - data driven and narrative. Data driven awards are in the wares of Waste, Electronics, and Purchasing, Water, and Transportation. Narrative Awards are given in the categories of Innovation, Education and Outreach, and Leadership.
Case Studies
A collection of projects and practices which Federal agencies have implemented to achieve green building goals. Information is categorized by the headings "Policies and Strategies," Tools and Training," and "Best Practices and Case Studies." Subjects covered within these categories include, but are not limited to: water conservation, energy efficiency, metering, NetZero, lighting, green leasing, sustainable acquisition, and design.
Published November 2012 by the American Water Resources Association, this document showcases state, multi-state, and regional efforts to implement Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM). In particular, this collection of case studies highlights the effectiveness of IWRM at all levels of water management and discuss the process of shifting to an IWRM approach and the resulting costs and benefits.
This FEMP website reflects Federal energy and water consumption data and includes links to GHG inventory data, energy use and cost, water use consumption data, and Agency progress on metering goals.
These case studies provide information about the performance, economics, and/or success of Federal water efficiency projects.
In this June 2018 study GSA compares 100 GSA high-performance buildings to 100 GSA legacy stock buildings looking at actual performance data in five key metrics from the last three years. The comparison found that high-performance buildings save energy, save water, cost less to operate, produce less waste, and have more satisfied occupants compared with typical buildings.
This December 2012 FEMP case study concerns a 2011 recipient of Federal Energy and Water Management Award. The focus of the study is U.S. Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Beaufort and their efforts to establish an energy and water-saving culture. The intent of this case study is to showcase how other agencies can augment their efforts through adopting similar efficiency standards.
As detailed in this report, increased attention to the use of stormwater and graywater has been driven by factors forcing change in the design and management of urban water supplies and infrastructure. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Water Science and Technology Board initiated a study on the beneficial use of stormwater and graywater. A free PDF of the pre-publication version is available. This study was supported with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water and Office of Research and Development; National Science Foundation; Water Research Foundation; Water Environment Research Foundation; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; WateReuse; City of Madison, Wisconsin; National Water Research Institute; and the National Academies' President's fund.
The Federal Energy Management Program investigated how effective energy savings performance contracts (ESPCs) are at integrating innovative water efficiency measures and identified ways to improve the process. This fact sheet shares the results of this assessment.
This EPA website addresses strategies for ensuring water efficiency. Tools provided include audit software, alternatives to water supply expansion, leak detection resources, and other water efficiency strategies.
Released by the National Research Council this 2011 report examines a wide range of reuse applications, including potable water, non-potable urban and industrial uses, irrigation, groundwater recharge, and ecological enhancement. With recent advances in technology and design, treating municipal wastewater and reusing it for drinking water, irrigation, industry, and other applications could significantly increase the nation's total available water resources, particularly in coastal areas facing water shortages, says a new report from the National Research Council. It adds that the reuse of treated wastewater, also known as reclaimed water, to augment drinking water supplies has significant potential for helping meet future needs. Moreover, new analyses suggest that the possible health risks of exposure to chemical contaminants and disease-causing microbes from wastewater reuse do not exceed, and in some cases may be significantly lower than, the risks of existing water supplies.
Implementation Guidance
Every drop of water saved in the U.S. saves energy, and every unit of energy saved saves water. That overlap has come to be known as the "energy-water nexus." This report, from the American Council for an Energy -Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Alliance for Water Efficiency combines the energy efficiency community and the water efficiency community. The report develops a blueprint for future joint efforts and envisions a policy agenda that could drive actions at the federal, state, local, and watershed levels.
This website provides an overview of how the WBDG approaches water conservation and links to the applicable codes and case studies.
Hosted by EPA Region 9, this website details what is and is not feasible in the arena of water reuse and recycling.
A public-private partnership program sponsored by EPA. Its mission is to protect the future of our nation's water supply by promoting and enhancing the market for water-efficient products and services
This is a compilation of water-efficiency best management practices, to help commercial and institutional facilities understand and better manage their water use, help facilities establish an effective water management program and identify projects and practices that can reduce facility water use.
Management Practices
These Best Management Practices were originally developed by FEMP in response to Executive Order (E.O.) 13123 requirements. E.O. 13423 superseded E.O. 13123 and to account for the superseded requirement changes, water use patterns, and advancing technologies, the Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense Office updated the original BMPs.
The latest generation of water-saving, high-efficiency toilets must use less than 1.3 gal per flush and meet performance standards for quality in order to qualify for EPA's WaterSense label.
Training, Presentations, and Briefings
Join the experts on Portfolio Manager every Wednesday at noon ET for 30 minutes to ask questions. There is no specific topic or demonstration. This is a Q&A session.
This comprehensive water management training provides Federal facility and energy managers with knowledge and skills to assist in meeting water-related legislative and executive order requirements. Learners will develop skills in increasing water efficiency and reducing water use through sound operations and maintenance practices and water-efficient technologies. Several methods for meeting needs for non-potable water through alternate water sources, such as rainwater harvesting, reclaimed wastewater, and gray water are discussed. Water metering is covered, as well as life cycle costing and establishing the overall economics for strategic water management. This training is offered by FEMP in partnership with the National Institute of Building Sciences' Whole Building Design Guide.
This FEMP webinar covers how metered energy data can be measured, analyzed, and presented to support informed decision-making. Understand the various uses for metered data, methods and techniques to perform analysis, and effective tools to gather and evaluate metered data.
FEMP offers webinars, classroom training, and on-demand training addressing issues such as lighting, energy efficient products, fleet management, renewable energy, greenhouse gases, and water efficiency.
Leaks may look small, but they can add up to big water waste. Learn more about how facility managers can assess their water use with an eye toward finding and fixing leaks. We also provide information on how you can leverage the WaterSense Fix a Leak Week consumer campaign to engage staff.
This EPA webinar includes a presentation about EPA's "Flood Resilience Guide for Water and Wastewater Utilities" which has a user-friendly layout, embedded videos, and flood maps. The webinar also includes information on "EPA's Drought Response and Recovery Guide" which brings together lessons learned from small- to medium sized drinking water systems across the country that have dealt with drought. The guide provides water utilities with best practices and key actions that can be taken when planning for, responding to, or recovering from drought, and helps utilities dealing with drought impacts by outlining practical actions that can increase their overall drought resilience. This webinar was originally presented as part of the EPA Small Systems Monthly webinar on 25 September 2018.
Sponsored by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), this archive of quarterly webinars address topics ranging from water recycling and endangered species challenges, permitting options for small MS4s, and CWA rule litigation updates.
In April 2014, New Dream and Corporate Accountability International presented a webinar about how to organize a campaign to eliminate bottled water in your community. This webinar covers topics such as how to get started, how to build public support, and how to maximize media coverage -- with a special look at successful campaigns from university campuses.
Learn how to manage the water assessment process to save resources and operating costs and comply with Federal mandates: Plan and/or manage a water assessment at a Federal site; Develop a water balance using information such as utility bills and metered data; Manage walk-through surveys of building plumbing fixtures, laboratory equipment, cooling towers, and irrigation; Develop a plan for improving water efficiency using key survey findings; Identify and prioritize water efficient technologies; Contract for water management services. This course is offered by FEMP.
This FEMP training outlines federal requirements and drivers for metering and provides best practices to select and prioritize metering projects. Learn to identify and comply with applicable federal metering requirements and evaluate how metered data can be used to improve building performance and reduce costs.
This training is for wastewater lagoon owners and operators will cover methods, techniques, and strategies operators can use to get more BOD5 reduction, better TSS removal, odor control, sludge reduction, nutrient removal, and how to get more years of dependable service out of the lagoon system the community is currently using. Case studies will be presented of "how to" solutions to make lagoon operators more effective at their jobs. Attendees will learn how to fine-tune their systems using relatively simple process control tools and methods in order to optimize performance and return their system to compliance.
This training module is intended to increase water resource professionals' understanding of the causes of climate change, its potential impacts on water resources, and the challenges that water resource professionals face. The module also describes how federal, state, tribal, and local governments and communities are working to make the United States more resilient to the impacts of climate. The 45-minute training is part of the EPA Watershed Academy Web certificate program.
Explains how metered data can identify system-level or facility-wide changes and ways to use dashboards to present information tailored to stakeholders. Understand how to apply metered data analysis to improve operational efficiency, interpret building load profiles, and use metered data to analyze utility bills.
This FEMP eTraining core course provides a concise introduction to comprehensive water management in key topic areas, including basic water management terminology, the history of federal water mandates, Executive Order 13693 provisions, best practices associated with comprehensive water management, and proven water conservation financing mechanisms and strategies.
Offered by FEMP, this web-based course offers an introduction to the key elements of water resource management, planning and implementation. The course is free and is self-paced which can be accessed at any time.
Conferences and Events
March 2020
FEMP is helping agencies improve facility operations, upgrade infrastructure, and save taxpayer dollars by offering training and partnership opportunities with their serving utility and ESCO that explore contracting options, including UESCs. A UESC, ideal for any size project, is a limited–source contract between a federal agency and serving utility for energy management and demand–reduction services. To enter into a UESC, federal staff, utility representatives and ESCOs must understand the UESC process, legal parameters, contracting requirements, financing options, and other aspects of these agreements. This webinar will help federal agencies better understand the UESC project process and the important role they play on the UESC project team. Participants will also learn about the resources and UESC project assistance available from FEMP. Best practices will be shared as well as guidance on how to best support their utility partner.
The Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air conference brings the environmental science community closer together by providing a forum to facilitate the exchange of information of technological advances, new scientific achievements, and the effectiveness of standing environmental regulation programs.
The 2020 Sustainable Water Management Conference will bring together water sector organizations and professionals to discuss all aspects of resilient and efficient water management. Attendees will gain insights into best practices for managing water resources, source water protection, sustainable utility planning, analyzing the costs and benefits of water conservation, and exploring alternative water sources including stormwater and reuse.
April 2020
The 2020 Watershed and Stormwater Conference in Austin, TX will provide a forum for watershed and stormwater professionals throughout the nation to learn how to increase the resiliency of our communities in response to emerging and persistent threats to our water resources -- from headwaters to coasts. Network with water resource managers, practitioners, researchers and regulators from all over the United States. The conference will include technical presentations, case studies, panel discussions, workshops and field trips.
May 2020
The Federal Utility Partnership Working Group, initiated in 1994, was established to foster partnerships and facilitate communication among federal agencies and their regulated serving utilities to help agencies achieve their energy-related goals and mandates. The Federal Utility Partnership Working Group (FUPWG) meets twice per year to share success stories, information about Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) activities, and other business.
August 2020
When it comes to energy and water management, efficient-resilient-secure operations are the goal of every federal agency and the mission of the 2020 Energy Exchange. This comprehensive, 3-day training and trade show event helps agencies optimize their facility and fleet operations. This year's event includes onsite demonstrations of cutting edge technologies, FEDS Spotlight recognition of the most innovative and successful projects, and opportunities to drive innovation with the help of DOE and FEMP subject matter experts.
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Last Updated: November 21, 2019