Water Use Efficiency and Management

As outlined in Executive Order (EO) 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, the goal of water use efficiency and management is to advance improvements in NIH water use and management, to include storm water, by the following:

  • Setting a goal to reduce potable water consumption through reduction increments of 2% annually starting in 2007 through 2025 for a 36% reduction by 2025 (utilizing 2007 potable water consumption as a baseline).
  • Installing water meters and collecting and utilizing buildings and facility water balance data to improve water conservation and management.
  • Reducing industrial, landscaping, and agricultural (ILA) water consumption (measured in gallons) by 2% annually through 2025 relative to a baseline of ILA water consumption in 2010.
  • Installing appropriate green infrastructure features on federally owned property to help with stormwater and wastewater management.​

To demonstrate progress in water use efficiency and management and overall sustainability, NIH publishes an annual Sustainability Implementation Plan (SIP) and reports progress to the federal agency, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS adheres to the requirements in Section 14 of EO 13693 and publishes an annual Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan to demonstrate overall agency progress.

Water use efficiency and management includes implementation of conservation measures and reduction in use intensity across all operations and activities. These include management strategies for potable and non-potable water applications.

Progress toward Potable Water Intensity Reduction Goal

E.O. 13514 required NIH to reduce potable water intensity by 2% annually through FY 2020 compared to an FY 2007 baseline. Compliance with E.O. 13693, involves improved water use efficiency and management, including storm water management. In addition, NIH aims to reduce potable water consumption intensity, measured in gallons per square foot, by 2% annually through FY 2025 relative to an FY 2007 baseline. A 36% reduction is required by FY 2025.

A 16 percent reduction was required by FY 2015. The red bar represents the FY 2007 baseline. The green bar represents the FY 2015 actual reduction. The blue bars represent annual progress on achieving these targets. The orange bar shows the FY 2025 target. The percentage at the top of each bar represents the reduction or increase from the FY 2007 baseline. A positive percentage value indicates that portable water use intensity has increased compared to the FY 2007 baseline.NIH Progress Toward Facility Energy Intensity Reduction Goals

Industrial, Landscaping and Agricultural (ILA) Water Goal

E.O. 13693 section 3(f) also requires that agencies reduce ILA water consumption, measured in gallons, by 2% annually through FY 2025 relative to a FY 2010 baseline.

NIH Strategies to Achieve Water Use Efficiency and Management Goals

Recognizing the need to close the progress gap, NIH has identified the following strategies to improve potable water use reduction measures:

  • Install green infrastructure features to assist with storm and wastewater management.
  • Install and monitor water meters and utilize data to advance water conservation and management.
  • Install high efficiency technologies, e.g. WaterSense fixtures.
  • Prepare and implement a water asset management plan to maintain desired level of service at lowest life cycle cost.
  • Minimize outdoor water use and use alternative water sources as much as possible.
  • Design and deploy water closed-loop, capture, recharge, and/or reclamation systems.
  • Install advanced meters to measure and monitor potable and ILA water use.
  • Develop and implement programs to educate employees about methods to minimize water use.
  • Assess the interconnections and dependencies of energy and water on agency operations, particularly climate change's effects on water which may impact energy use.
  • Consistent with State law, maximize use of grey-water and water reuse systems that reduce potable and ILA water consumption.
  • Consistent with State law, identify opportunities for aquifer storage and recovery to ensure consistent water supply availability.
  • Ensure that planned energy efficiency improvements consider associated opportunities for water conservation.
  • Where appropriate, identify and implement regional and local drought management and preparedness strategies that reduce agency water consumption

Water Use Efficiency & Management – Progress/Accomplishments

Progress/accomplishments on water use efficiency and management include advancing energy control measures in RTP using grey water from a nearby municipal waste water treatment plant for make-up water in cooling towers. NIH continues implementation of Utility Energy Service Contracts (UESC) and Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) projects signed previously which include implementation/construction of water metering, steam traps, condensate units, and fixtures to conserve water.

Click here for more information on how the NIH is participating in water conservation.

​​​Click here to view the 2019 NIH Sustainability Implementation Plan

Click here to view the NIH Sustainability Goal PoC list​​​​​​