Water Saving Tips for Schools and Colleges

General Suggestions

  • Increase employee, faculty, and student awareness of water conservation.
  • Conduct contests for employees and students (e.g., posters, slogans, or conservation ideas).
  • Seek employee suggestions on water conservation; locate suggestion boxes in prominent areas.
  • Install signs in all restrooms encouraging water conservation.
  • When cleaning with water is necessary, use budgeted amounts.
  • Read water meter weekly to monitor success of water conservation efforts.
  • Assign an employee to monitor water use and waste.
  • Determine the quantity and purpose of water being used.
  • Determine other methods of water conservation.

Building Maintenance

  • Check water supply system for leaks.
  • Turn off any unnecessary flows.
  • Repair dripping faucets, showers and continuously running or leaking toilets.
  • Install flow reducers and faucet aerators in all plumbing fixtures whenever possible.
  • Reduce the water used in toilet flushing by either adjusting the vacuum flush mechanism or installing toilet tank displacement devices (dams, bottles, or bags).
  • As appliances or fixtures wear out, replace them with water-saving models.
  • Shut off water supply to equipment rooms not in use.
  • Minimize the water used in cooling equipment, such as air compressors, in accordance with the manufacturer recommendations.
  • Reduce the load on air conditioning units by shutting air conditioning off when and where it is not needed.
  • Keep hot water pipes insulated.
  • Avoid excessive boiler and air conditioner blow down. Monitor total dissolved solids levels and blow down only when needed.
  • Instruct clean-up crew to use less water for mopping.
  • Change window cleaning schedule from periodic to an on-call/as required basis.

Kitchen and Laundry Areas

  • Turn off the continuous flow used to clean the drain trays of the coffee/milk/soda beverage island; clean the trays only as needed.
  • Turn dishwasher off when not in use. Wash full loads only.
    Replace spray heads to reduce water flow.
  • Recycle rinse water from the dishwater or recirculate it to the garbage disposal.
    Do not use running water to melt ice or frozen foods. If necessary, use ponded water.
  • Use water-conserving ice makers.
    Presoak utensils and dishes in ponded water instead of using a running water rinse.
  • Wash vegetables in ponded water; do not let water run in preparation sink.
    Use water from steam tables in place of fresh water to wash down the cooking area.
  • Reprogram machines to eliminate a rinse or suds cycle, if possible, and if not restricted by health regulations.
  • Only wash full loads of clothes.
  • Evaluate wash formula and machine cycles for water use efficiency.


  • Channel splashed-out pool water into landscaping.
  • Lower pool water to reduce amount of water splashed out.
  • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation when pool is not being used. Reduce amount of water used to clean pool filters.

Exterior Areas

  • Inventory outdoor water use for landscaped areas.
  • Water landscape only when needed; two-to-three times a week is usually sufficient. Do not water landscape every day.
  • Wash autos, buses, and trucks less often.
  • Discontinue using water to clean sidewalks, driveways, loading docks, and parking lots. Consider using brooms or motorized sweepers.
  • Avoid landscaped fertilizing and pruning stimulating excessive growth.
  • Remove weeds unhealthy plants so remaining plants can benefit from the water saved.
    In many cases, older, established plants require only infrequent irrigation. Look for indications of water need, such as wilting, change of color, or dry soils.
  • Install soil moisture overrides or timers on sprinkler systems.
  • Time watering, when possible, to occur in the early morning or evening when evaporation is lowest.
  • Make sure irrigation equipment applies water uniformly. Investigate the advantages of installing drip irrigation systems.
  • Mulch around plants reducing evaporation and discouraging weeds.
  • Remove thatch and aerate turf encouraging movement of water to the root zone.
  • Avoid runoff and make sure sprinklers cover just the lawn or garden, not sidewalks, driveways, or gutters.
  • Do not water on windy days.

For more information, contact the Water Supply Program at water.supply@maryland.gov or 410-537-3702​

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