Education is essential if water efficiency technologies and methods are to be successful. It is not enough to install a retrofit or water saving technology in a facility. New operation procedures, retrofits, and replacements are most effective when employees, contractors, and the public know what the new technology or methods are and how to use them properly.
An additional benefit to water efficiency is positive public opinion. If your facility is doing its part to save community resources, let the community know. Informing the public about your facility's commitment to reduce waste is good news. The news media is often interested in facilities that take a proactive stand on water efficiency.
Internal Information and Education Options
The following options are available to help Federal agencies conduct internal communication and education programs.
- Establish a user-friendly hotline or other communication system internal stakeholders can use to report water leaks or other wastes of water and energy. Repair reported leaks promptly to encourage continued participation.
- Keep employees informed about your commitment to water efficiency, ongoing improvement programs, and any program successes. Start a water conservation column in your building or agency newsletter featuring how much water has been saved through the water management program.
- Share information with employees on how water is used at your facility and how much water is used for each application. This communicates how employee actions can reduce water use.
- Place signs and placards near new equipment, making it easy to understand the new technology and how to use it properly.
- Start a suggestion and incentive system to recognize and encourage water savings in your facility. Consider distributing efficiency devices. Communicate progress towards achieving water use reduction goals.
- Conduct regular training workshops for implementing water efficiency best management practices. Include maintenance personnel to keep them up to date on operational changes and maintenance procedures.
- Integrate water management into the facility environmental management system (EMS). Consider water use as an environmental aspect of the EMS. Existing EMS teams and procedures can serve as a powerful method to involve and train employees and to monitor and communicate progress.
For more options on educating internal staff about reducing water consumption, see Institutional Change for Sustainability.
External Information and Education Options
The following options are available to help Federal agencies conduct external communication and education programs.
- Work with local utilities to develop comprehensive programs and to share successes with other similar facilities.
- Invite members of the local news media to tour your facility and see first-hand the efficiency program and achieved successes.
- Create displays presenting facility water savings for posting in your lobby and other public reception areas.
- Develop Web sites, brochures, and other materials for distribution to employees and the public describing your program, goals, and successes.
The following resources provide guidance on water best management practices.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense at Work BMP: Information about efficient technology and operational improvements to save water in user education and facility outreach.
EPA WaterSense Program: Partnership program making it easy for Americans to save water and protect the environment through consistent measurement and labeling standards.
Water Use It Wisely: Conservation program with educational materials and water saving tips.