1. Work with your local water authority.
- Find out the source of your school's water.
- Learn how your utility measures water use.
- Read meters monthly. Analyze water use over a school year, over a calendar year, and from season to season.
- Discuss how your school can conserve water and how to set realistic goals.
- Obtain posters, leaflets and possible speakers or activities.
2. Establish water-efficient irrigation practices (typically the #1 use of water for schools).
- Install an automatic rain shut-off device on sprinkler systems.
- Adjust the irrigation schedule for seasonal changes.
- Be sure all hoses have shut-off nozzles.
- Use drip irrigation systems instead of sprinklers.
- Shut off the water supply to equipment or areas that are not used.
3. Harvest and recycle rainwater.
- Set up a water collection system to gather rain for watering plants and other non-potable uses.
- Examine the benefits of artificial turf versus grass on athletic fields to save water and maintenance costs.
4. Reduce air conditioning and water cooling.
- Shut off water cooling systems when not in use.
- Reduce cooling needs by setting the air conditioner's thermostat 2-3 degrees higher.
- Adjust ice machines to make less ice if there is a surplus.
5. Go "low flow."
- Install low-flow water aerators in washrooms.
- Add water displacement devices such as bags or weighted bottles in toilet tanks.
- Retrofit flushometer or tankless toilets with water-saving diaphragms to save one gallon per flush.
- Replace old toilets with new low-volume models. Old toilets use as much as 4.5 gallons per flush, while low-volume toilets use only 1.6 gallons.
- Replace old shower heads and faucets with low-volume models, which use only 2 gallons per minute versus 3 gallons for old models.
6. Repair leaks.
- One leaking toilet can waste more than 50 gallons of water each day.
- A dripping faucet or shower head can waste up to 1,000 gallons per week!
- Monitor the toilets and faucets inside and outside the school regularly.
- Check for leaks and set dates for reporting and repair.
7. Reduce water used in food preparation.
- Replace standard pre-rinse sprayers with low-flow models.
- Sweep floors and walkways instead of using water when possible.
- Turn down hot water temperatures for dishwashing or cleaning.
- Promote full dishwasher use; dishwashers use 6 gallons a load while hand washing uses 3 gallons a minute.
8. Landscape school grounds for water efficiency.
- Mulch around plants and trees to reduce evaporation and weeds.
- Preserve existing plants for shade, moisture retention and wildlife habitat.
- Plant trees, drought-resistant plants and shrubs, especially on hillsides or banks.
9. Manage water runoff.
- Look for areas around the school that have eroded due to storm water runoff.
- Add vegetation or water retention areas to prevent further erosion.
- Use permeable surfaces for parking lots and other areas.
10. Create a culture of water conservation among staff, students and parents.
- Post colorful stickers and signs to promote water conservation.
- Compare water use over time, starting before the water conservation program begins.
- Display your progress on bulletin boards and displays around the school.
- Hold school or community events that focus on water conservation actions and wastewater issues.