Reduce Water Use

According to the EPA, each year more than 1 trillion gallons of water pass through our sink faucets in the United States. How and where is water being used around your school?

Investigate bathroom faucets and toilets, locker room showers, the kitchen, science labs, art rooms – and don’t forget outside. Leaky faucets and spouts waste gallons and gallons of water every day, and a few small changes can make a big difference. Installing aerators and other simple strategies can reduce a sink's water flow by 30 percent or more!

Remember to track your impact in gallons of water saved this year or just on your day of action. Either work with your facilities staff to choose a baseline water use and see how much lower you can go, or estimate your impact by adding up the amount that was likely saved through each of your actions.

Get Started:

  • Contact the principal or a school facilities administrator to get their support for conducting a water audit in one of the school buildings. 
  • Conduct a walk-through of your school and its grounds in search of all your water connections.
  • Find out in advance the last time any of the fixtures may have been updated and whether or not any efficiency measures have been taken to use less water. Request a tour to walk through the building with a custodial staff member.
  • Use a water audit worksheet like the one from Eco Schools to calculate your school’s current water usage.
  • Install faucet aerators and advocate for leaks to be fixed. Aerators are small and inexpensive devices that can be screwed directly onto a faucet where the water comes out to slow the flow of water, cutting the gallons per minute nearly in half.
  • Encourage teachers to incorporate water education into their lesson planning using in-depth curriculum resources from Learning Lab.

Look to additional resources to find more ways to save water in your school:

  • Check the Green Strides portal from the Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Schools program for updated resources from federal agencies and partners.
  • Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program to learn more about water use and conservation strategies.
  • Learn more about water and climate change around the world through the UN’s World Water Day.