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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.

(NOTE: Executive Order 13834. Efficient Federal Operations was revoked [except for Sections 6. Duties of the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, Section 7. Duties of Heads of Agencies, and Section 11. General Provisions] by Executive Order 13990 Climate Crisis; Efforts to Protect Public Health and Environmental and Restore Science. FedCenter is awaiting implementing instructions from CEQ before updating this page with the current Executive Order.)

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 follows:

    Metrics
  • 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
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; Revoked by: EO 13990, 20 January 2021 – except for Sections 6, 7, and 11
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.
The purpose of this guide is to provide information on effective energy and water metering strategies, relevant metering technologies and communications, how to collect and use metered data, and how to develop a metering plan. This guide is designed to serve as a resource for facility, energy, and water management and technical staff. It does not try to represent the universe of metering-related material.
This page provides links to CEQ guidance and Federal resources for sustainability, energy, and environmental performance. The guidance documents listed on this website provide technical information to support agencies in implementing sustainability policies and programs.
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.
The Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP)'s Technical Resilience Navigator (TRN) helps organizations manage the risk to critical missions from disruptions in energy and water services. It provides a systematic approach to identifying energy and water resiliency gaps and developing and prioritizing solutions that reduce risk. The TRN enables organizations to be proactive in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities to their critical energy and water systems to reduce outage impacts, and support continuous mission operations.
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 1.9 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 USGS investigates the occurrence, quantity, quality, distribution, and movement of surface and underground waters and disseminates the data to the public, State and local governments, public and private utilities, and other Federal agencies involved with managing our water resources.
To assist agencies in conducting comprehensive water evaluations required per Section 432 of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007, the FEMP developed the Water Evaluation Tools to help in conducting comprehensive water evaluations and water use analysis. The water evaluation tools focus on potable water consumption in major end-use categories at the campus level.
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.
Directories/Catalogs/Newsletters
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 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.
Libraries/Repositories
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.
This site is intended to keep the water industry in the know about tools, issues and developments related to water conservation.
Data on this website are compiled from agencies' latest Annual Energy Data Reports and are included in the Annual Reports to Congress on Federal Government Energy Management. The website includes: data tables of federal agency energy and water consumption; interactive graphics associated with most data tables; energy costs by end-use sector and efficiency investment information; progress toward key goals outlined in the National Energy Conservation Policy Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 8253-8258); Energy Policy Act of 2005 (42 U.S.C. 15852); and historical data tables of agency energy use and costs by facility and mobility sectors by energy type beginning in fiscal year (FY) 1975.
This website provides information about various initiatives to promote sustainable infrastructure. Specifically it addresses the 4 pillars of sustainable infrastructure: better management, full cost pricing, efficient water use, and watershed approaches to protection.
This final report prepared by the Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (SSWR) Research Program, is a summary and synthesis of scientific and technical literature on enhanced aquifer recharge (EAR) using stormwater. It is based on a search and screening of published literature conducted during summer and fall of 2020. The goal is to summarize the current state-of-the-science of information leading to best practices for EAR using stormwater. Topics addressed include factors affecting recharge volumes, risks (particularly of water quality degradation), what current science suggests about best practices, and knowledge gaps that, if filled, will help inform recommendations for safe, effective EAR using stormwater. The report is technical and does not address policy or regulatory issues.
Organizations/Programs
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.
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.
This free publication (download pdf only) discusses alternative water sources such as graywater and stormwater that can serve a range of non-potable uses, including irrigation, toilet flushing, washing, and cooling, although treatment may be needed. Stormwater may also be used to recharge groundwater, which may ultimately be tapped for potable use. In addition to providing additional sources of local water supply, harvesting stormwater has many potential benefits, including energy savings, pollution prevention, and reducing the impacts of urban development on urban streams. Similarly, the reuse of graywater can enhance water supply reliability and extend the capacity of existing wastewater systems in growing cities.
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.
EPA website which provides background information, EPA activities and resources, and Federal information about water reuse.
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.
WaterSense makes it easy to find and select water–efficient products that can help your wallet and the environment. WaterSense labeled products are backed by independent, third–party certification and meet EPA's specifications for water efficiency and performance. Products include toilets, faucets, irrigation sprayers, and others
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.
For most of us, recycling is something we do without much thought. In other words, we have "operationalized" the routine to the point it is almost a reflex. Although society has not operationalized water efficiency to the same extent, proven success with notable Fortune 500 companies and a developing municipal water conservation program in Spokane, WA shows how a simple change in traditional water efficiency audits could be the missing link to a future where water efficiency is as common as recycling is today. Attendees will learn how to: 1. Emphasize lowering total operational costs; 2. Diagnose water efficiency opportunities at a Commercial, Institutional, or Industrial (CII) property; 3. Simplify the initial steps required to make water efficiency routine across CII Properties; and 4. Integrate proven "tricks of the trade" to make water efficiency part of daily routines.
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.
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.
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.
This webinar features EPA's ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, a powerful online tool that can help you track and manage your system's energy usage and energy savings from efficiency projects, including related greenhouse gas emissions for your inventories. We will discuss how Portfolio Manager benefits water and wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) systems, and demonstrate how you can create an account and benchmark your systems at no cost to you. Discussion will include some of the most common energy-saving recommendations. Other topics may include additional energy and cost saving recommendations such as composting sludge and selling it as fertilizer, biogas generation from sludge, demand shifting, electricity rate plan changes, switching to LEDs, replacing motors with high efficiency ones, etc.
Conferences and Events
October 2021
WEFTEC is the world's most comprehensive gathering of water quality professionals and thought leaders, featuring the sector's leading conference program, an extensive exhibition showcasing the field's most cutting-edge solutions, and a variety of valuable networking opportunities.
January 2022
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) is the proud host of the 13th IWA International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse to be held from 16th- 20th January 2022. The central theme of the conference is "Water Reuse: Overcoming the Challenges of Growth and Climate Change" and is intended to help progress towards the creation of sustainable water reuse solutions through multidisciplinary cooperation and learning from the extensive experience already gathered in countries around the world. The framework surrounding the central theme of the conference will deal with the full range of topics relating to water reclamation and reuse. There will be a focus on innovations and solutions that address water stress in integrated fashion from the three different angles of water reuse adoption, water reuse implementation and the removal of water reuse bottlenecks.
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Last Updated: July 08, 2021