/ Projects / Water Conservation Challenge Encourages Cities to Save Water, Compete for Prizes

Water Conservation Challenge Encourages Cities to Save Water, Compete for Prizes

Matt Ball on May 8, 2012 - in Projects, Water

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Wyland Foundation has launched its National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, a non-profit competition taking place throughout the month of April. During the challenge, residents in U.S. cities will compete to see whose city is the most “water wise.”

The competition will see which city leaders can best inspire their residents to make a series of informative, easy-to-use online pledges aimed at drastically slashing water and energy use across the nation. The mayors of those cities earn bragging rights, and residents can win hundreds of prizes, including water saving fixtures, and a Toyota Prius Hybrid from national presenting partner Toyota.

“The mayor’s challenge gives communities a way to come together for one very important reason — the future of our planet,” says famed marine life artist Wyland, whose foundation piloted the Mayor’s Challenge concept to South Florida and Southern California cities in 2009 and 2011. “We see mayors making gentleman’s bets over who will win college football games. Here’s a way for them to take on an even more important challenge in a friendly, competitive way. We want to challenge every state in America to save an additional billion gallons a year over their current usage.” Others behind the program, such as National Geographic Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle, have called the program an important step toward raising broad environmental awareness about water issues. “The steps we take for our environment in the next ten years will affect the future of our planet for the next 10,000 years.”

With the nation facing $1 trillion in water infrastructure improvements in the next 25 years, mayors nationwide are encouraged to challenge their residents to conserve water, save energy, and reduce pollution on behalf of their city at http://www.mywaterpledge.com.

Organizations spearheading the effort include the US Environmental Protection Agency, EPA WaterSense, US Forest Service, NOAA, WaterPik, Rain Bird, Lowe’s, STERLING Plumbing, PADI and Project AWARE. The cities of Los Angeles, Honolulu, and Redondo Beach were among the first to accept the challenge. Other mayors in more than forty cities, including Denver, Tucson, and Miami Beach, are following suit by issuing council resolutions, creating steering committees, and using the city’s “highest” seat to urge their residents to save water, energy, and reduce pollution.

Cities will be divided into four regions (West, Midwest, South and Northeast) and categorized by population (5,000-30,000 residents, 30,001-100,000 residents, 100,000+ residents). Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge win. Participants in the winning cities will be eligible to win over $50,000 in prizes, including the Grand Prize of a Toyota Prius Hybrid, as well as custom-designed sprinkler systems from Rain Bird, Eco-Flow Showerheads from WaterPik, Sterling water-saving toilets, and hundreds of gift cards from Lowe’s. Residents will also discover resources in their area to take their commitment of conservation even further, from regional water and energy resource issues to cost-saving tips at home. Organizers add that all residents across the nation are welcome to participate on behalf of their city, regardless of mayoral participation.

About the Wyland Foundation
Founded in 1993 by environmental artist Wyland (best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals), the Wyland Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is actively engaged in teaching millions of students around the county about our ocean, rivers, lakes streams, and wetlands. The foundation’s latest project, FOCUS (Forests, Oceans, Climate — and us) brings together the U.S. Forest Service, NOAA, and numerous non-profits to teach young people about the future of our water supplies, climate, and global health. http://www.wylandfoundation.org

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