Across the country, healthcare facilities are beginning to take aim at reducing their water and energy consumption. For many of these facilities, energy has been a primary focus. However, with consistent annual water and sewer rate increases, stringent water consumption regulations, and the increasing occurrence of extreme weather evets, more and more facilities are expanding their view of water use and how best to conserve.
In Seattle, home to some of the largest water and sewer rates in the country, the Seattle Children’s Hospital has set a goal to reduce their water and energy consumption by 50 percent. This ambitious, yet achievable goal is becoming increasingly common throughout the industry.  “We need to future-proof our operations so we’re not burdened by soaring utility costs, and to fulfill our mission to children, we need to conserve energy and water for future generations,” says Colleen Groll, the sustainability program manager at Seattle Children’s in Healthcare Design Magazine. 
As most industries can attest, water conservation has typically been an afterthought compared to energy and physical waste reduction strategies. Commenting to HealthLeaders Media, Laura Brennen, a senior environmental analyst with a San Francisco based engineering firm, described the evolution of healthcare sustainability movements:
“In the 1990’s, there was this big focus on materials and waste reduction and having waste management plans. In the 2000s, hospitals realized we are using more energy than needed to still provide quality care, so we started focusing on energy reduction. We are anticipating that this decade is going to be around water conservation. Like waste in the 90’s and energy in the last decade, hospitals are hugely inefficient.” 
As one of the most water-intensive industries in the world, efforts like the ones undertaken at Seattle Children’s Hospital are creating a movement within the healthcare field that is increasing focus on water conservation and their role as stewards to the environment. Nearly seventy-five percent of a hospitals’ water usage can be considered non-potable demand, such as running a central utility plant. Only twenty-five percent requires potable water for domestic uses, such as showers, toilets, and sinks. 
In an interview with Healthcare Design Magazine, Breeze Glazer, a senior associate and sustainable design leader at Perkins+Will, commented that practices such as low-flow fixtures and using non-potable water for landscape irrigation are becoming the baseline for many healthcare organizations. 
As the economic and environmental climate shifts, an opportunity to conserve water resources is emerging in a highly dynamic and necessary industry. In order to move toward sustainable water management in the healthcare field, conservation measures need to be bold and innovative.
Published September 29, 2016
 DiNardo, Anne. Healthcare’s Water Conversation Efforts Have Ripple Effect. Healthcare Design Magazine, July 13, 2016. Web. http://www.healthcaredesignmagazine.com/article/healthcare-s-water-conversation-efforts-have-ripple-effect  Commins, John. How Hospitals Can Save Water and Big Bucks Too. HealthLeaders Media, April 23, 2012. Web. http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/finance/how-hospitals-can-save-water-and-big-bucks-too?page=0%2C1