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Checklists of Common Opportunities Associated with Water Sustainability Concepts

A wide range of opportunities exist to lower costs, reduce risk, and enhance revenues while pursuing more sustainable approaches to managing water resources. Many creative ideas for reducing water use and impacts can be generated through employee suggestions and analysis and brainstorming sessions. The Water Sustainability Concepts contained in this tool provide a useful framework for spurring consideration of diverse opportunities. A brief checklist of sample opportunities, organized by these Water Sustainability Concepts, is provided below to demonstrate examples. The case studies throughout GEMI's Water Sustainability Tool also provide examples of creative opportunities that companies have pursued.

Numerous resources are available that provide information on common opportunities to improve the efficiency of water use, reuse water, and lessen water quality impacts. The two resources listed below provide excellent starting points. Both of these resources contain extensive checklists and examples of water efficiency steps and other opportunities. In addition, they provide links to other Internet resources, as well as bibliographies of useful publications.

Many industry associations and reseach organizations have developed resources for companies within their industry sector regarding approaches for improving water management. For example, the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has developed several publications and tools addressing water conservation and management for utilities and other members of the energy industry. 

Use the Water Sustainability Concepts to Generate Ideas

The Water Sustainability Concepts can also be used to help identify appropriate actions for each risk.

Reduce Overall Use of Water

  Consider plumbing fixture replacement or retrofit and install low volume faucets and toilets
  Institute a leak detection and repair process
  Install automatic shutoff valves
  Adjust blow-down cycles in cooling equipment
  Incorporate water considerations in new tool and process design
  Improve irrigation technology and practices

Match Water Quality With Appropriate Use

  Consider using treated wastewater for irrigation
  Consider reusing treated wastewater for toilet flushing and HVAC
  Install reclaimed wash water system for car washing
  Eliminate "once-through" cooling
  Capture and reuse field runoff or tail water

Minimize Adverse Impacts on Water Quality or Improve the Quality of Available Water

  Use fertilizer sparingly in landscaping
  Consider replacing toxic chemicals in material flow analysis
  Consider opportunities for water reuse
  Increase efficiency of fertilizer application rates

Solve Water Quality Challenges Through Prevention Rather Than Treatment


Consider applying Integrated Resource Planning (IRP) principles, which encourages consideration of demand-side options, for business planning and strategy development

  Monitor main meters and sub meters
  Apply water-wise landscaping principles, such as Xeriscape™ to landscape design and management
  Consider source and watershed protection activities
  Incorporate water considerations in new tool and process design
  Conduct on-farm water audits

Engage Local Stakeholders


Ensure participation of all stakeholders in the development of water sustainability strategy. Stakeholders include:

  • Water managers
  • Planners
  • Engineers
  • Financial administrators
  • Information specialists
  • Other businesses
  • Environmental groups
  • Public officials
  • General public

Engage stakeholders at the beginning and throughout the planning process, not just at the end


Look for opportunities for partnerships with local communities, environmental groups, and municipalities to support common goals.

Raise Awareness About Water Sustainability


Support public education programs about water conservation in schools


Create a demonstration garden or park


Include water conservation information in ongoing communication with customers, employees and the public


Offer training programs for employees


ResourcesReturn to Module 3