Saving Water Saves Energy

Saving Water Saves Energy Project

There’s no question that energy and water are related. In the U.S., more than 13% of our electrical energy goes to heat, treat and pump water supplies.

On the flip side, our nation’s electrical production represents 49% of the withdrawals from our rivers, wetlands and fresh water resources.U.S. Water Related Carbon Emissions

Additionally, carbon emissions related to our use of water is estimated at 290 million metric tons annually, or 5% of all carbon emissions in the U.S. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 53 million passenger vehicles or emissions from the electricity use of over 40 million homes.

To start some of the work both mitigating and adapting to climate change, the Masco Corporation Foundation and HRWC embarked on a 3-year project (2011-2014) to develop and disseminate a home “Saving Water Saves Energy” campaign and toolkit for distribution to households in Southeast Michigan and for use by HRWC business partners as well as watershed organizations across the country.

For details about climate change at the watershed level see Huron River Report Climate Change Edition, Winter 2009 and our climate change webpage.


Studies show that a 25% reduction in water usage is well within our reach. HRWC’s goal is to show that promoting water efficiency and conservation can work as a strategy to mitigate climate change. HRWC will educate consumers about water-efficient plumbing products, water saving habits and practices and how saving water at home translates into energy savings, less greenhouse gas emissions, and doing something to combat climate change.

Strategic Partnerships

Early on, the project has led to partnerships with government, environment, and utility groups working on these issues at a national level.

  • River Network, a national watershed protection movement that includes nearly 2,000 state, regional and local grassroots organizations whose primary mission is to protect rivers and watersheds.
  • Alliance for Water Efficiency, a non-profit organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water.
  • WaterSense, a partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by promoting and enhancing the market for water-efficient products and services.

Project Highlights

During the 2012 and 2013 festival seasons the Saving Water Saves Energy project directly reached an estimated 6,000 people, attending over 15 public festivals each March through September in nine different communities throughout the watershed. Its message: There’s hidden energy embedded in our water and using less saves energy, money and reduces your carbon footprint.

The Saving Water Saves Energy message was incorporated into HRWC’s education and outreach programming across the board and was featured in the 2012 and 2014 Watershed Community and the 2014 Alliance of Downriver Watersheds Community calendars distributed to 78,000 people in Southeast Michigan.

The project provided watershed residents with over 3,000 native plant seed packets, 1,500 five minute shower timers, 1,000 toilet leak detection kits and collected 350 “pledges to save.” HRWC hosted coffees and lunch and learns at the NEW Center, Sweetwaters Coffee & Tea, Google, the Toyota Technical Center, the Ypsilanti District Library and elsewhere. Outreach how-to presentations were made to river groups at both the Michigan Watershed Summit and the national conference of River Network.

The project partnered with Detroit Public Television to produce and air “A Hero Rises” a 60-second video PSA promoting water efficiency measures and EPA’s WaterSense labeling program to home-owning viewers. And Saving Water, Saves Energy worked with DTE Energy to publish water-energy efficiency tips and information in EnergySmarts, a green living magazine that goes to 16,000 residential DTE customers throughout Southeast Michigan.

In June, 2014 HRWC released a report: The Carbon Footprint of Domestic Water Use in the Huron River Watershed, sharing the results of an analysis to calculate how much energy and carbon is used to produce, heat and treat drinking water within the watershed.

Tips and Tools

See the Saving Water Saves Energy pages of our website for the latest and greatest resources on how you can save water, energy, money and the planet — all at the same time!

Masco Corporation Foundation

*The Saving Water Saves Energy Project is made possible by a grant from the Masco Corporation Foundation.

Contact: Pam Labadie, HRWC Marketing Director, or 734-769-5123 x 602.

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