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Water: Sustainable Infrastructure

Water & Energy Efficiency


Make the Drops-to-Watts Connection  

Being water and energy efficient provides a wide range of benefits—for utilities, consumers, businesses and the community as a whole.  Using less water means moving and treating less water, which helps reduce the strain on our water supplies and drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

"Water is needed to generate energy. Energy is needed to deliver water. Both resources are limiting the other—and both may be running short."

—Michael Webber, Scientific American, October 2008

Delivering water and wastewater services is also an energy-intensive effort, as the water is treated, pumped to our homes and businesses, then pumped to wastewater facilities to be treated again. EPA estimates 3-4 percent of national electricity consumption, equivalent to approximately 56 billion kilowatts (kW), or $4 billion, is used in providing drinking water and wastewater services each year. Water and wastewater utilities are typically the largest consumers of energy in municipalities, often accounting for 30-40 percent of total energy consumed. Pursuing energy efficiency at our water sector systems can significantly reduce operating costs, while mitigating the effects of climate change.  

Water and Energy Efficiency at Utilities

If water and wastewater utilities could reduce energy use by just 10 percent through demand management strategies and cost-effective investments in energy efficiency, collectively, it would save about $400 million annually. EPA has collected a wealth of tools and information to help water sector utilities manage water for optimum water and energy efficiency.

Conservation in the Home

Whether through simple daily tasks or the installation of water- and energy-efficient products, there are many ways to decrease water and energy use in our homes. EPA estimates that if one out of every 100 American homes was retrofitted with water-efficient fixtures, we could save about 100 million kWh of electricity per year and avoid adding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere. To learn more about how you can make an impact, visit these program and organization pages:

  • WaterSense—Through the WaterSense program, EPA offers a label for products and services that are certified to save water without sacrificing performance. Manufacturers, retailers, builders, utilities, and others can partner with the program to help raise awareness of WaterSense labeled products and an ethic of careful water use.
  • Alliance for Water EfficiencyExit EPA Disclaimer—In the fall of 2005, EPA announced support for the establishment of The Alliance for Water Efficiency, a national organization that serves as a clearinghouse and advocate for water efficiency research, evaluation and education.
  • ENERGY STAR®Exit EPA DisclaimerENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.

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