In the last decade, global environmental stresses have caused the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to actively promote improved sustainability practices in airport planning, design and operations. The FAA is encouraging the use of strategic water management practices and has implemented numerous sustainability programs for the airport sector to follow.  Airports across the United States have already begun to explore the implementation of water reclamation and reuse strategies.
Following the FAA’s lead toward sustainable development, the Chandler Airport has become a model for airports across the country looking to reduce water consumption through impactful water management solutions. In a move that validated the concept of on-site reuse, the Arizona Water Association awarded the Chandler Airport Water Reclamation Facility Expansion Project, the 2015 Water Reuse Project of the Year. The on-site reuse system reclaims wastewater and produces A+ Arizona reclaimed water quality – the most stringent and difficult to produce. Reclaimed water is used to recharge aquifers and irrigate the airport’s lawns, trees and flower beds.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation document titled Energy and Water Management Program for FAA Buildings and Facilities, the FAA “must reduce potable water intensity 2 percent annually or 26 percent by the end of FY 2020.” “In addition, FAA must reduce industrial, landscaping and agricultural water consumption by 2 percent annually or 20 percent by the end of FY 2020.”
In an effort to reach this goal, the FAA is committing that new buildings follow the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings. These principles emphasize the federal government’s commitment to designing, building and operating sustainable buildings capable of:
- “Improving energy efficiency and water conservation;
- Providing safe, healthy, and productive built environments; and,
- Promoting sustainable environmental stewardship.”
The FAA also implemented the Airport Improvement Program, which offers grants for airports “to develop comprehensive sustainability planning documents. These documents include initiatives for reducing environmental impacts, achieving economic benefits and increasing integration with local communities.” There are currently 44 airports involved in this program, including Denver International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Nashville International Airport, Portland International Jetport and Tampa International Airport.
As environmental and water related issues persist, the FAA continues to encourage programs for improved airport sustainability. According to Energy and Water Management Program for FAA Buildings and Facilities published by the FAA“Consistent with its mission to provide the safest, most efficient air transportation system in the world, the [FAA] strives to manage the acquisition, consumption and conservation of energy and water resources in a manner that minimizes both the expense and the impact of FAA operations on human health and the environment.” 
 Office of Airports Federal Aviation Administration. Recycling, Reuse and Waste Reduction at Airports. Federal Aviation Administration. https://www.faa.gov/airports/resources/publications/reports/environmental/media/RecyclingSynthesis2013.pdf
 Water Online. Chandler Airport Water Reclamation Facility Expansion Project Named 2015 Water Reuse Project Of The Year By Arizona Water Association. VertMarkets, INC. http://www.wateronline.com/doc/chandler-airport-water-reclamation-project-of-the-year-by-arizona-water-association-0001
 U.S. Department of Transportation. Energy and Water Management Program for FAA Buildings and Facilities. U.S. Department of Transportation. http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/1053.1B.pdf
 Energy Star. Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings Memorandum of Understanding. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.https://www.energystar.gov/ia/business/Guiding_Principles.pdf
 Federal Aviation Administration. Airport Sustainability. Federal Aviation Administration. http://www.faa.gov/airports/environmental/sustainability/