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Water Efficiency Guidance for Federal Agencies

A number of executive orders (E.O.) have been issued that require federal agencies to implement water efficiency measures. E.O. 13423 (2007) required the purchase, installation, and implementation of water-efficient products and practices. E.O. 13514 (2009) extended and expanded the requirements of the executive order to also include requirements related to industrial, landscape, and agricultural water use. E.O. 13693 (2015) extended reduction goals and added requirements for metering.

Agencies must reduce water consumption intensity, relative to their fiscal year 2007 baseline, through cost-effective life-cycle measures by 2 percent annually (or 36 percent total) by the end of fiscal year 2025. They must reduce agency industrial, landscape, and agricultural water consumption annually by 2 percent, or 30 percent by the end of fiscal year 2025, relative to a 2010 baseline.

The Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality has issued implementing instructions (73pg, 1,579K, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer for the 2015 executive order and directs agencies to also use the implementing instructions (28 pg, 688K, About PDF) Exit EPA Disclaimer developed specifically for the water provisions of E.O. 13514 as they carry out requirements. Where applicable, agencies should purchase water-efficient products and services, including WaterSense labeled products, and hire contractors who are certified by a WaterSense labeled program.

This page is designed to assist federal agencies in fulfilling these requirements. To comply, federal agencies should:

Purchase WaterSense Labeled Products

On average, WaterSense labeled products are 20 percent more water-efficient than conventional models on the market, and provides equal or superior performance. All WaterSense labeled products are certified to meet EPA's efficiency and performance criteria by an independent, third-party laboratory. WaterSense currently labels a variety of both indoor and outdoor products that can be found in retail locations nationwide.

Specify the Purchase of WaterSense Labeled Products

Incorporate the following procurement language into purchasing agreements:

  • The vendor must, where applicable, provide WaterSense labeled products. The vendor is encouraged to check for updated lists of WaterSense labeled products.

Use Contractors Certified by a WaterSense Labeled Program

  • WaterSense labeled programs are available for irrigation system installation and maintenance professionals, irrigation system designers, and irrigation system auditors.
  • Irrigation professionals certified by one or more of the above labeled programs have demonstrated their expertise in water-efficient irrigation technologies and techniques.
  • Irrigation professionals certified by a WaterSense labeled program can help you design and install a new irrigation system or audit an existing one to minimize the amount of water you use, greening your facility in more ways than one.

Incorporate Water Efficiency Best Management Practices Into Facility Operations

  • The best management practices included in WaterSense at Work can help federal facilities reduce water use in their operations.
  • To further help you identify water-efficient products and practices that will enable you to reduce your water consumption and comply with E.O. 13423, the U.S. Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and EPA's WaterSense program have coordinated to develop 14 best management practices Exit EPA Disclaimer that can be implemented and tailored to meet your agency and/or facility–specific water efficiency goals.

Purchase FEMP-Designated Energy-Efficient Products

  • FEMP provides purchasing specifications for many energy and water-efficient products not currently covered by WaterSense specifications. For more information, please visit the FEMP Energy–Efficient Products Website Exit EPA Disclaimer.

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