U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Federal Energy Management Program

Federal Requirements for Water Efficiency

The following Federal laws and regulations require Federal agencies to reduce water use and improve water efficiency.

Executive Order 13423

Executive Order (E.O.) 13423 requires Federal agencies to reduce water consumption intensity (gallons per square foot) 2% annually through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2015 or 16% by the end of FY 2015 from a 2007 baseline. This requirement is to be achieved incrementally by fiscal year beginning in 2008.

Fiscal Year Percentage Reduction
2008 2
2009 4
2010 6
2011 8
2012 10
2013 12
2014 14
2015 16

E.O. 13423 Mandated Facility Water Intensity Reductions by Fiscal Year

E.O. 13423 also directs Federal facilities to conduct annual water audits of at least 10% of facility square footage and to conduct audits at least every 10 years. The executive order instructions also state that Federal agencies should purchase water-efficient products and services, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense-labeled products, and use contractors who are certified through a WaterSense-labeled program where applicable.

E.O. 13423 supersedes the requirements in E.O. 13123, namely the development of water-management plans and the implementation of the Federal Energy Management Program's (FEMP) Water Efficiency Best Management Practices (BMPs). However, agencies are encouraged to use these existing tools in achieving Federal requirements.

  • Baseline development
  • Efficiency opportunity identification and implementation
  • Necessary reporting.

Executive Order 13514

E.O. 13514 expands the water-efficiency requirements of E.O. 13423 and EISA 2007. E.O. 13514 does not supersede either regulation.

E.O. 13514 requires that Federal agencies improve water efficiency and management by:

  • Reducing potable water consumption intensity 2% annually through FY 2020, or 26% by the end of FY 2020, relative to a FY 2007 baseline. This is an expansion of the water requirements within E.O. 13423

  • Reducing agency industrial, landscaping, and agricultural water consumption 2% annually, or 20% by the end of FY 2020, relative to a FY 2010 baseline

  • Identifying, promoting, and implementing water reuse strategies—consistent with state law—that reduce potable water consumption

  • Implementing and achieving objectives identified in the stormwater management guidance issued by EPA. More information on EPA stormwater guidance, as well as a fact sheet, is available on the EPA website.

E.O. 13514 adds an additional reduction requirement for agencies to achieve a 2% volumetric reduction of industrial, landscaping, and agricultural (ILA) water use based on an FY 2010 baseline. The intent is to expand the water reduction of Federal agencies to include other areas of freshwater consumption beyond potable water. The ILA-water category is distinct from the potable-water category. Federal agencies are required to track these water uses separately and should not double count potable and ILA water uses.

Typically, ILA water is from non-potable freshwater sources, such as surface and groundwater. For example, a golf course that is irrigated with non-potable well water should be included in the ILA water category. Another example of ILA water is cooling tower make-up from surface water that is not reported as potable water. Applications that use water sourced from alternative water should not be included in the ILA water category. Alternative water is considered water not obtained from a surface-water source, groundwater source, or purchased reclaimed water from a third party. Alternative water can include rainwater harvested on site, sump-pump water harvesting, gray water, air cooling condensate, reject water from water purification systems, water reclaimed on site, or water derived from other water reuse strategies.


The Council on Environmental Quality issued Federal Agency Implementation of Water Efficiency and Management Provisions of Executive Order 13514 to establish guidelines for determining Federal water uses, baseline development, reporting requirements, and strategies for implementing water efficiency and reuse.

Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007

The Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007 amends Section 543 of the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA) and establishes a framework for facility project management and benchmarking. Under the new requirement, agencies must identify all "covered facilities" that constitute at least 75% of the agency's facility energy and water use. A covered facility may be defined as "a group of facilities at a single location or multiple locations managed as an integrated operation." An energy manager must be designated for each of these covered facilities. Each facility energy manager is to be responsible for:

  • Completing comprehensive energy and water evaluations (including re- and retrocommissioning) of 25% of covered facilities each year, so an evaluation of each such facility is completed at least once every four years

  • Implementing identified energy- and water-efficiency measures (bundling individual measures of varying paybacks into combined projects is permitted)

  • Following up on implemented measures, including fully commissioning equipment, putting in place operations and maintenance plans, and measuring and verifying energy and water savings.