Residents Across U.S. Make 390,000 Pledges to Cut Use By 1.5 billion Gallons As Part of 4th Annual National Water Challenge
Enough to fill 2,300 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
That’s the amount of water Americans pledged to save over the next year as part of the 2015 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, an annual awareness campaign that encourages leaders to promote water efficiency in their communities.
Between April 1-30, residents from more than 3,900 cities made more than 391,325 pledges online to reduce their water use at home, around the yard, and in their lives. The challenge addresses the growing importance of educating consumers about the many ways they consume water — from swapping their lawns out in favor of drought resistant native plants to looking at how we use water for food and manufacturing
The cities with the highest percentage of residents that made pledges included San Diego, Calif., Aurora, Colo., Torrance, Calif., Poway Calif., and Hermosa Beach, Calif. Additionally, more than 135 mayors across the United States, including Pittsburgh, Dallas, Denver, and Tucson stepped up their involvement with personal appeals to residents to participate in the online challenge.
The challenge is presented nationally by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S. EPA, the National League of Cities, the Toro Company, Bytelaunch, and WaterSmart Software. Residents from winning cities will be entered into a drawing this month for over $50,000 in water-saving or eco-friendly prizes, including a Grand Prize Toyota Prius v, low-flow showerheads from WaterPik, home irrigation equipment from the Toro Company, and hundreds of home improvement store gift cards. A $1,000 Home Improvement Shopping Spree will also be chosen from among the entire pool of U.S. participants. Additional prizes include a water efficient landscape park or school makeover for one of the winning cities, as well as WaterSmart Software tools for water utilities to help reduce resident water consumption up to 5 percent.
As prospects of water reduction mandates grow in the U.S., the campaign provides cities with a way to engage residents with positive incentives and raises the collective water I.Q. of the nation. Pledges are designed to promote water sustainability and improve water quality, along with tips for additional water savings. The campaign also included animated public service announcements, national advertising, and a multi-state school educational tour featuring the Wyland Foundation’s Clean Water Mobile Learning Experience, an interactive 1,000 square foot traveling water exhibition.
In addition to making water-saving pledges, challenge participants in 50 states pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles by more than 4.6 million bottles and eliminate 141,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, pledges also resulted in potentially 47 million fewer pounds in landfills. Potential savings of 13 million gallons of oil, 7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, and $35 million in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results.