School Water Conservation Strategies

With the ease of turning a faucet, you may not often think about water conservation in your daily life. But did you know that forty out of fifty state water managers expect water shortages under average conditions in some portion of their states over the next decade? The numbers are staggering:  The average person uses between 80-100 gallons of water each day. Just flushing a toilet uses 1 to 4 gallons per flush. Watering a lawn can use 2 gallons per minute. Just one dripping faucet can waste up to 2,000 gallons of water a year. 

The largest uses of water in schools are restrooms, landscaping, heating & cooling, and cafeteria kitchens. Industry estimates suggest that implementing water-efficient practices can decrease operating costs by approximately 11% and energy and water use by 10-15%. Many water efficiency measures are easily implemented and of little or no upfront cost to the school, resulting in substantial savings (typically a 25‐75% reduction of municipal water use).  Learn more below about water conservation strategies for both indoor and outdoor water use. (Also be sure to visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you to continue to improve the health and sustainability of your school!)

Before You Start

Form an Action Team

Center for Green Schools: Water Management Video (9mins)

Center for Green Schools: Water Management Companion Guide

Review: EPA WaterSense Education Facilities Fact Sheet

Design and Preparation

Conduct a General Environmental Review Checklist

Assess Your School’s Water Usage


Choose Water Conservation Strategies

Develop a Water Conservation Action Plan (K-5) Sample

Develop a Water Conservation Action Plan (K-5) Blank

Develop a Water Conservation Action Plan (6-12) Sample

Develop a Water Conservation Action Plan (6-12) Blank

Signage: Share Your School Greening Efforts!

Using Your Project

EPA WaterSense for Kids Lessons

Participate in the Sustainable Water Challenge

Eco School Sustainability Pathways Lessons & Resources

Eco School National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

Green Education Foundation: Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

Learning Lab Sustainability Lessons

EPA MyEnvironment: Search Tool of Environmental Data by Zipcode

Eco Schools Green STEM Initiative

Resource Center

Project Resource Library: Learn More!
National & State Green School Programs
Eco Schools USA Handbook
Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)