United States"
                         • Environmental Protection
                           Office of Water
April 2000
Using Water  Efficiently:
Ideas for  Commercial  Businesses
                                 Facility managers are finding that water .efficiency programs are a cost-effective way to
                                 reduce operating costs. Saving water also means saving costs for electric power, gas,
                                 chemicals, and wastewater disposal. Efficient water use also can have major environ-
                                 mental, public health, and economic benefits by helping to improve water quality, maintain
                          aquatic ecosystems, and  protect drinking water resources. Efficient use of water, through
                          behavioral, operational, or equipment changes, if practiced broadly can help mitigate the
                          effects of drought. This list of measures is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather a start-
                          ing point. Other sources of information on water efficiency are available through EPA's web
                          site (, and innumerable other sources, some of which
                          may be accessed through the EPA web site, or through WaterWiser, The Water Efficiency
                          Clearinghouse ( EPA's web site also contains information on the
                          Water Alliances for Voluntary Efficiency (WAVE) program. WAVE is a voluntary partnership
                          program sponsored by EPA and designed to promote efficieTit water use by commercial busi-
                          nesses and institutions.                             fe.r~- -.--->.

                          General Management Practices — make a corporate commitment to water
                          efficiency:                                      ~
                             •  Designate a water  efficiency coordinator.            - -       -       -  ~
                             •  Develop a mission  statement and a plan.            ,        ........
                             •  Educate and involve efnpioyees in water efficiency efforts',
                             •  Inform your chemical suppliers  or service contractors (cooling tower, laundry, dishwasher, land-
                                scaping) that water efficiency is a priority.  •

                          Equipment Changes  — high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, appliances and
                          other equipment yield substantial savings on water, sewer, and energy bills:
                                Install high-efficiency toilets,  or retrofit water-saving devices on existing toilets.
                                Install faucet aerators and showerheads.
                                Use water-conserving ice makers.                                           ..
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                                As appliances and equipment wear out, replace them with water-saving models.
                                Eliminate "once-through" cooling of equipment with municipal water by recycling water flow to
                                cooling tower or replacing with air-cooled equipment.       .. ........ -...'-..
                             •  For large laundries: install a rinse-water recycle system; consider continuous-batch (tunnel)
                                washers in new or  expanded facilities. For small operations, consider high-efficiency clothes
                                washers.                    :

                          Operating and Maintenance Procedures — a small investment that can yield
                          big savings:
                             •  Find and repair all  leaks.
                               S Minimize the water used in space cooling equipment in accordance with manufacturers recom-
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Kitchen and Laundry Practices — simple changes that save a lot of
        Turn off dishwashers when not in use. Wash full loads only.
        Scrape rather than rinse dishes before washing.
        Use water from steam tables to wash down cooking areas.
        Do not use running water to melt ice or frozen foods.
        Handle waste materials in a dry state whenever possible.
        Wash only full loads of laundry.

Landscape Irrigation—can be significant during the growing season in
some climates. (During drought conditions outdoor watering restrictions
may be imposed, and therefore some of the following tips will not apply.):
    •   Detect and repair all leaks in irrigation system.
    •   Use properly treated wastewater for irrigation where available.
    •   Water the lawn or garden during the  coolest part of the day (early morning is best). Do not
        water on windy days.
    •   Water trees and shrubs, which have  deep root systems, longer and less frequently than
        shallow-rooted plants that require smaller amounts of water more often. Check with the local
        extension sen/ice for advice on watering needs in your area.
    •   Set sprinklers to water the lawn or garden only - not the street or sidewalk.
    •   Use soaker hoses or trickle irrigation for trees and shrubs.
    •   Install moisture sensors on sprinkler  systems.
    •   Use mulch around shrubs and garden plants to reduce evaporation from the soil surface and
        cut down on weed growth.
    •   Remove thatch and aerate turf to encourage movement of water to the root zone.
    •   Raise your lawn mower cutting height - longer grass blades help shade each other, cut
        down on evaporation, and inhibit weed growth.
    •   Minimize or eliminate fertilizing, which promotes new growth needing additional watering.

Other Outdoor Uses:
        Sweep or blow paved areas to clean, rather than hosing off.
        When using a hose, control the flow with an automatic shut-off nozzle.
        Wash vehicles less often; use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
        Consider a new water-saving swimming pool filter.
        Lower pool water level to reduce amount of water splashed out.
        Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when pool is not being used.
        Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. Use signs  to
        indicate that water is recycled. Do not operate during a drought.

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* These suggested measures are not intended to supercede more stringent federal, state, tribal, or local health,
safely, or environmental regulations.