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Water-Saving Tips for Property Owners and Tenants in Multifamily Housing 

Property owners and managers have a lot to consider when it comes to making multifamily properties greener. Improving water efficiency across properties has a huge impact not only on sustainability, but on curb appeal, building safety, and the bottom line. Water conservation should involve the ongoing collection of real-time water data, installing water-efficient appliances, and changing expectations and behaviors about water use among tenants. 

Here are just some of the many ways owners and tenants in multifamily housing can work together to conserve water and make a lasting, positive impact on the environment. 

What Owners Can Do to Conserve Water 

  • Create a water conservation program with guidelines for tenants to follow (and incentive to follow them!) 
  • Conduct a water audit to measure water use in different areas of your facilities, and then develop a plan for the areas with inefficient usage
  • Install smart irrigation systems across all landscaping to keep them healthy, while eliminating water waste
  • Hire a qualified irrigation auditor to conduct a complete audit of your system at least every three years 
  • Implement a leak detection and water use analytics service across properties, to be immediately notified of leaks and breaks and ensure they’re fixed before wasting water and damaging properties
  • Ensure all units are using only EPA WaterSense approved appliances
    • Retrofit toilets and urinals with flush valves that decrease the volume of water used
    • Replace existing faucets with metered valve faucets that deliver a preset amount of water before shutting off
    • Install ultra-low gallon per minute aerators on all faucets
  • Create irrigation hydrozones by placing plants with similar watering needs together and choose low-water-use, native plants and shrubs, instead of high-water-use turf
  • Establish site-specific water budgets against which you can compare actual water usage, particularly for irrigation
  • Harvest rainwater and start recycling water – determine where water used for one process can be used later for another
  • Always cover swimming pools when not in use to reduce water loss from evaporation 
  • Wash windows only when necessary, rather than on a strict schedule
  • Install a reclamation system that recycles both rinse water and wash water for use in initial wash cycles where laundering occurs 

Water-Saving Tips for Tenants

  • If you see something, say something! Alert property managers about anything water-related that seems abnormal (ie. standing water on pavement, a toilet that won’t stop running, and sprinklers turning on during a rainstorm)
  • Run only full loads in the dishwasher – this can save nearly 320 gallons of water annually
  • Turn off the tap while brushing teeth instead of letting it run continuously – this can save 8 gallons of water per day 
  • Take shorter showers – try a shower timer
  • Don’t let the faucet run continuously while cleaning fruits and veggies
  • Don’t put anything besides toilet paper in the toilet – this includes sanitary products, tissues, matches, and beyond. Flushing even a small piece of trash can waste 5 to 7 gallons per flush!

Our demand for water only continues to rise, but less than 1% of the world’s water is available for human use. As more regions begin to experience water stress at extreme levels, it’s imperative that we all do our part – no matter how big or small – to save water. 

Click here for a downloadable flyer filled with easy tips on how tenants can save more water!