Partnership Leads to Learning Opportunity for Feds in Florida

November 1, 2002

Increasing water demand, coupled with drought conditions from the past few years, has made water conservation a critical issue in Florida. The FEMP program in DOE's Atlanta Regional Office, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Florida State Energy Office sponsored a state-specific workshop on water conservation for Federal facilities in Florida. Numerous local Federal sites and water management district personnel helped cosponsor the workshop. The workshop was designed to help Federal agencies become part of the solution to the growing concern about water supplies in Florida.

Conducted August 29-30, 2002 in Orlando, Florida, the workshop's primary objective was to educate facility managers about how to conserve water and save money at Federal facilities in Florida. An important topic concerned assessing and improving water efficiency to reduce water use at Federal facilities, and thereby meet the requirements of Executive Order 13123. The workshop included both general water conservation information and specifics directly applicable to the particular water needs and requirements of Federal sites in Florida.

Beth Shearer, Director of FEMP, opened the workshop by providing a brief overview of FEMP's water conservation program and the significance of the workshop. Mark Ewing, Director of GSA's Center of Energy Expertise, gave an overview of water use by Federal facilities and outlined the components of GSA's Water Management Guide. He underscored the importance of water conservation by stating that, "Using less water saves the electricity needed to heat, cool, treat, or move water, thereby cutting energy use and reducing harmful emissions from the burning of fossil fuels." The local workshop host, Ed Cobham, Program Manager for Federal Projects in the Florida Energy Office, also made a presentation.

Workshop speakers represented public and private sectors as well as academia. Mike Clawson, of Tyndall Air Force Base, gave an overview of the water conservation requirements of Executive Order 13123. Katherine Pordeli and Elizabeth Thomas, from the State of Florida's St. Johns River Water Management District, gave presentations on water supply management and site selection, landscaping, and irrigation. Melissa Roe represented the Southwest Florida Water Management District. She discussed resources that are helpful to develop a successful water conservation project. Tom Swihart, of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, gave a presentation on the Florida Water Conservation Initiative. Tom Gustafson and David Hanna, both with the Florida Rural Water Association, spoke on the topic of leak detection and solutions to water management problems. Representatives from the City of Cocoa shared excellent case studies on two of their successful water conservation projects.

Dr. Mike West of Advantek Consulting, Inc. and Stan Stokes of Environmental Consulting and Technology, Inc. represented the private sector. West discussed the impact of cooling towers on a facility's water management plan, and how to reduce cooling tower water use to best take advantage of recycling and reuse opportunities. Stokes' topic, "Where to Spend Your Time and Money" for water conservation projects, addressed the tools necessary to implement a water management plan, as well as issues to be aware of when using outside consultants to assist in water management planning. Lonnie Burke, a master plumber and a professor at the Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute, discussed the importance of a well-educated plumbing maintenance staff to a successful water conservation program.

On Wednesday, August 28, some of the workshop attendees participated in a pre-workshop behind-the-scenes walking tour of underground operations at Disney's Magic Kingdom in Orlando. Glen Connally, Manager of Park Support Engineering Services, led the attendees through Disney's Magic Kingdom underground tunnels, providing them with a view of the inner workings of the "world" beneath the Kingdom.

For more information or details on this workshop, please contact Traci Leath of DOE's Atlanta Regional Office at 404-562-0570 or Presentations from the workshop will be available on DOE Atlanta Regional Office's web site at

For more information on FEMP's water conservation program see the FEMP Web site at FEMP provides technical assistance for water conservation through DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. For additional information on FEMP's Water Conservation Program, please contact Ab Ream of FEMP at 202-586-7230 or