Sustainable Business Practices: Conserving Water

Conserve water with these low-cost strategies and watch the savings flow to your operating budget.

Sustainable Business Practices: Conserving Water

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Water is a critical resource. By taking steps to conserve it, you can help to ensure that fresh, clean water is available for future generations.

Water management makes good business sense, as well. The cost of water and wastewater services has risen well above average over the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can expect the cost of water to continue to rise due to the aging water supply infrastructure.

Water conservation strategies

Start saving now with these no-cost water management practices:

  • Check for and repair all water leaks. Even a small leak can result in gallons of wasted water each day.
  • Only water landscaping when necessary. Irrigate early in the morning, or at night, to reduce water waste from evaporation.
  • Adjust sprinklers to water landscaping and grass only; don't waste water and money irrigating sidewalks and parking lots.
  • Only operate dishwashers and laundry machines with a full load. Scrape dishes instead of rinsing them.
  • Print only when necessary; it takes 2.6 gallons of water to produce one sheet of paper.
  • Encourage employees to carpool or take public transportation; it takes 13 gallons of water to produce one gallon of gasoline.

Water-efficient technologies

With a small investment, you can make a lasting impression on your water footprint.

  • Upgrade with low-flow shower heads and aerated faucets. They provide a more efficient flow of water without sacrificing comfort.
  • Install high-efficiency toilets and waterless urinals in restrooms.
  • Install timers and moisture sensors to minimize water use.
  • Use drought-tolerant native plants and turf whenever possible. With a little planning you can have an attractive landscape that reduces water use and costs.
  • In food service operations, install high-pressure, low-volume spray valves and dishwashers with automatic shut-off valves.

Water-saving success story

To reduce water use for landscaping, the owners of an office park in Dallas installed a weather-based irrigation controller, a rain sensor, a freeze sensor, and performed some long-needed maintenance on their irrigation system. The result was water savings of 12.5 million gallons a year and annual cost savings of $47,000.

See the EPA's WaterSense for Commercial Buildings for detailed information about water-management practices and additional resources.

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