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Top 10 Tips to Conserve Water

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.

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