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The following information on water management techniques was obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency’s website. To view the report in its entirety, or to learn more about Water Management, please visit:

Top 10 Water Management Techniques
EPA's Sustainable Facilities Practices Branch developed the following list of top 10 water management techniques that have proven helpful in managing water use at facilities throughout the Agency.

1. Eliminate Single-Pass Cooling
Single-pass cooling uses a continuous flow of water that is circulated once through the system for cooling purposes, and is then disposed of down the drain.

  • In FY 2001, the National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory (NVFEL) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, replaced its single-pass cooling system with an upgraded cooling plant comprised of a re-circulated chilled water loop. This upgrade helped NVFEL reduce its water consumption by 80 percent, saving the laboratory 24.8 million gallons of water and $235,000 annually.

7. Cooling Tower Optimization

Cooling towers provide a vital source of cooling for laboratories. However, they are also large consumers of water. Cooling tower operations can be optimized by carefully controlling the ratio of the quantity of water evaporated to the quantity of water discharged (blowdown). The quantity of water evaporated is a function of the cooling demand. The quantity of blowdown should be controlled using an automated controller, and by maintaining proper cooling tower water chemistry. The ratio of evaporation to blowdown is called the cycles of concentration. Water efficient cooling towers are operated to achieve 4 or 5 cycles of concentration, or higher. In addition, metering the quantity of water put into the tower and discharged from by the cooling tower provides information that helps to better manage the efficiency of the tower.

  • In FY 2003, the Environmental Science Center in Fort Meade, Maryland, saved 530,000 gallons of water and approximately $1,800 by reducing its cooling tower blowdown.