Federal Water Conservation in the Metropolitan Washington Area

PLRD-82-78: Published: May 12, 1982. Publicly Released: May 12, 1982.

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GAO reported on Federal Government water conservation and cost control in the metropolitan Washington area.

In 1978, the General Services Administration (GSA) established a water conservation program which reduced Federal water consumption nationally from 5.2 billion gallons in 1977 to 4.6 billion gallons in 1980 and reduced its consumption from 2.6 billion gallons in 1977 to 1.7 gallons in 1981 and replaced worn spigots, installed water conservation devices, and recirculated fountain water. There is only one single-pass, water-cooled air conditioning system which uses city water in operation in the region. This is a small system located in the White House. GSA has replaced other single-pass systems. Some systems use water pumped from and returned to the Potomac River. The use of single-pass, water-cooled air conditioning systems using city water is restricted to small systems. Federal buildings in the Washington suburbs are individually metered. In the District of Columbia, GSA has 88 buildings or complexes which have water meters. GSA feels that it would be hard to make agencies responsible for water consumption because, in many instances, more than one agency is located in a building served by a single meter and water consumption is one of the factors considered in determining the standard level of users charge.

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