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measure and track water consumption – By tracking water use alongside energy use, you can better understand how these resources relate to one another, make integrated management decisions that increase overall efficiency, and verify savings from improvement projects. Measuring activities usually involve reading the water meter and/or noting usage from water bills. Here are several pre-existing tracking tools that can help you get started: www.energystar.gov and www.environwise.gov.uk. For additional information on how to make your organization more water efficient, click here.

rain garden – an area planted with native shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses designed to collect storm water runoff from paved surfaces and allow it to soak into the ground rather than run into the sewer system. Using native plants minimizes the amount of time, energy, and fertilizer devoted to this area. To learn how to create a rain garden, click http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Rain-Garden.

riparian buffer – also known as a vegetated buffer zone, this is the area adjacent to a stream or river which is left in its natural, usually forested, vegetative state. They help support wildlife, prevent bank erosion, and play a key role in protecting water quality. For more information, click http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/wqg/sri/riparian5.

water-efficient appliances – appliances or fixtures that limit or reduce the amount of water consumed in each use (e.g., sensor controlled faucets, low flow toilets, and no-flush urinals). For more information on water efficient appliances, click http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pp/index.htm.

water-efficient landscaping (xeriscaping) – landscaping techiques that utilize plants with low water demand depending on the local climate and irrigation techniques that save water (e.g., native plans, drip irrigation, and appropriate mulching). For more information on water-efficient landscaping, click www.xeriscape.org or www.abcwua.org/waterconservation.xeri.html.

water quality – refers to the physical, chemical, and biological makeup of water. Water quality is most commonly used in reference to water available for human use (consumption or otherwise).

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