According to Fast Company, the jeans manufacturing process can be surprisingly water-intensive.

Most jeans are washed in industrial washing machines between three to ten times during the finishing process–and that adds up.

So when Levi’s went looking for ways to save water this past year, it focused on the finishing side of jeans manufacturing. And that’s how the Waterless jeans collection was born.

Levi’s didn’t make any major changes to the jeans manufacturing process to cut down on water use.

Instead they used simple fixes–combining multiple wet washing machine cycle processes into a single wet process, incorporating ozone processing into garment washing, removing water from the stone wash–to cut down on water consumption by an average of 28% in the WaterLess line. Some jeans have cut water use by 96%.

Levi’s first collection of WaterLess products, which includes over a dozen styles (Levi’s 501, 511, and 514 jeans among them), will be released in January 2011 and start at $68 for the cheapest pair.

By Spring 2011, Levi’s will have over 1.5 million WaterLess jeans for sale, saving a total of 4 million gallons of water.

Photo by Levi’s.