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With the U.S. population doubling over the past 50 years, our thirst for water tripling, and at least 36 states facing water shortages by 2013, the need to conserve water is becoming more and more critical. Because EPA recognizes the importance of responsibly managing our water resources, the Agency is integrating water management best practices at its facilities.
EPA occupies two main types of facilities: laboratories and offices. While plumbing, heating/cooling, and irrigation needs comprise a large percentage of typical office water use, laboratories have additional needs for water such as cooling tower blowdown and laboratory processes that use water. Learn more about office water use compared to laboratory water use. Because it controls the utilities, mechanical systems, and processes at most of its laboratories, EPA has focused its water-saving efforts on those facilities.
EPA’s approach to water conservation has already produced significant results. In fiscal year (FY) 2010, EPA reduced its water use by 18.7 percent compared to an FY 2007 baseline, well above the water intensity reductions required by Executive Order (EO) 13423 and extended by EO 13514.
EPA's approach to water conservation is driven by federal water efficiency requirements. To meet its requirements, EPA has developed strategies, which guide the water conservation-related actions EPA takes. These actions lead to projects that reduce water use and intensity at the Agency's facilities. Before the current requirements were in effect, older requirements guided EPA's water reduction efforts. Learn more about water conservation.