As an aspect of the 2005 Northern Colorado Action Plan, participants also explored the collaborative benefits of sharing conservation related research efforts. Top priority sectors for ICI water conservation were identified by participants based on a situation analysis and knowledge of their own particular sector demographics and needs. A voting process was used to identify the following high priority sectors.


  • Wash full loads in rack-type machines.
  • Presoak and wash items in basins of water rather than under running water.
  • When possible, scrape or brush dishes and pots rather than using running water or pre-rinse sprayers.
  • Replace pre-rinse sprayers with water-saving 1.6-gpm sprayers.
  • Install pressure reducing valves on dishwasher water supply lines when the supply pressure exceeds the pressure recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Operate scraping troughs only during dishwashing operations.
  • Replace older dishwashers with new water and energy efficient models.
  • Turn dishwashers off when not in use.
    Food & Drink Preparation
  • Install kitchen faucet aerators that use 2.5 gpm. Where higher flows are needed, install a fingertip control valve for aerated or full-flow operation.
  • Reduce or eliminate using water to thaw food. If food must be thawed using water, reduce flows to the minimum needed.
  • Turn off continuous flows used to clean drain trays installed at coffee/milk/soda/beverage islands.
  • Install hands-free or foot activated valves on faucets.
    Food Disposers
  • Replace disposers with garbage strainers which use less water.
  • Use the minimum acceptable flow of water through the disposer.
  • Install electronic sensors to detect food in the disposer's grinding chamber.
  • Install solenoid valves to stop water flow when the disposer is off.
  • Reduce the amount of time the disposer operates, as well as the amount of water used, for models with preset controls.
  • Replace old icemakers with air-cooled, water efficient models. However, consider energy use too.
  • Use ice flake machines rather than ice cube machines. Producing ice flakes uses less water.
  • Use softened water in ice cube machines to minimize bleed-off.
  • Collect spent cooling water from water-cooled ice machines and use it for nonpotable purposes, such as mopping floors.
    Building Maintenance
  • Repair leaks and malfunctioning equipment promptly.
  • Install low-flow toilets and faucet aerators in restrooms.
  • Replace fixtures with water-conserving models when they wear out.
Additional resources for restaurants...

Hotels and Motels

    Restrooms and Guest Bathrooms
  • Repair all leaks, including dripping faucets and showers and running or leaking toilets.
  • Showerheads, faucets and toilets should be replaced with low-volume models.
  • Replace or Retrofit old toilets (pre-1994) with toilet tank water displacement devices, such as toilet dams, bags, or weighted bottles.
  • Install aerators to all plumbing fixtures.
    Kitchen, Dining Room and Bar
  • See Restaurant BMPs
    Building Maintenance
  • Check the water supply system for leaks, and turn off unnecessary flows.
  • Shut off the water supply to equipment and areas that are unused.
  • Check the pressure. Where system pressure is higher than 60 psi, install pressure-reducing valves.
  • Shut off water-cooled air conditioning units when not needed, or replace water-cooled equipment with air-cooled systems.
  • Insulate hot water pipes.
  • Instruct cleaning crews to use water efficiently for mopping.
  • Switch from wet carpet cleaning methods, such as steam, to dry, powder methods.
  • If you have to, powerwash paved surfaces. Do not use an open hose.
  • Wash exterior windows with a bucket and squeegee rather than powerwashing.
  • Change window cleaning schedule from "periodic" to "as required."
  • Wash only full loads.
  • Evaluate the wash formula and machine cycles for efficiency. It may be appropriate to reprogram machines to eliminate a cycle.
  • Consider upgrading to water-efficient washing machines. You will save water and energy.
  • Lodging establishments should not change sheets more often than every four days for guests staying more than one night, except for health or safety reasons.
    Pools & Spas
  • Lower pool level to avoid splash-out. Water that is unavoidably splashed-out can be channeled onto the landscape or back into the pool.
  • Reduce the water used to back-flush pool filters.
  • Check the pool regularly for cracks and leaks (including pressure grouting, liners and drain valves) and make repairs regularly.
  • Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation and heat loss when the pool is not being used.
  • Lower the pool temperature, if possible-particularly when the pool is not being used.
  • Apply water, fertilizer, or pesticides to your landscape only when needed. Look for signs of wilt before watering established plants.
  • Core aerate and apply compost annually for established lawns.
  • Install an automatic rain/wind shut-off device on sprinkler systems.
  • Consider using low-volume irrigation, such as a drip system.
  • Make sure sprinklers are directing water to landscape areas, and not to parking lots, sidewalks, or other paved areas.
  • Use mulch around landscape plants to reduce evaporation and weed growth.
  • Be sure all hoses have shut-off nozzles.
  • When it snows, pile plowed snow around the landscape rather than a paved surface. Not only do you benefit from the slow percolation of the snowmelt, but you don't lose any parking space.
  • Use a broom to clean sidewalks and driveways instead of hosing them down.
  • Avoid landscape fertilizing and pruning that would stimulate excessive growth.
  • Increase employee awareness of water use efficiency.
  • Install signs encouraging water efficiency in restaurants, restrooms and guest rooms.
Additional resources for hotels and motels...

Retail and Shopping Centers

  • Individually meter or sub-meter
  • Low-flow fixtures
  • Periodic leak detection/maintenance schedule
  • Landscape
  • Irrigation
  • Employee training
  • Water use BMPs
  • Water budget
  • Information on water bill
  • High-efficiency washing machines
Additional resources for retail and shopping...

Nursing and Assisted Living Facilities

  • Kitchen/Dining Room Areas: dishwashers, sinks, food and drink preparation, food disposals, icemakers
  • Bathrooms: toilets, bathtubs, showers, sinks
  • Laundry: washing machines, sinks
  • Landscape Irrigation (possible golf courses)
  • Pools
  • Water features (fountains, etc.)
Additional resources for nursing and assisted living facilities...

Medical Facilities

Green Guide for Health Care Project offers a 90-item list of green features for healthcare facitlities, including water conservation in construction and operations.

Additional resources for medical facilities...