NLC Supports National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation

February 25, 2013

By Tammy Zborel

Beginning April 1st, cities across the country will compete in the 2nd Annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Presented by the Wyland Foundation, the month-long challenge asks city leaders and their residents to pledge to conserve water. All those who take the pledge are entered into a national competition to win hundreds of prizes – including a Toyota Prius c, water-saving fixtures and gift certificates. Last year residents from over 1,000 cities participated and pledged to save a total of 4.7 billion gallons of water.

Access to and availability of clean water is a growing challenge for America’s cities. 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental U.S., and much of the country experienced the effects of crippling droughts, such as reduced crop yields and increased food prices. City leaders are taking steps to increase conservation and promote efficient use, reuse and collection of water. Still, raising awareness of the importance of water conservation and motivating residents to make changes to their water consumption habits can be difficult. The Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation provides cities with tools to increase community participation in and knowledge of water-saving activities.

To get started, city leaders sign a pledge indicating their commitment to sustainability. Once committed, the city receives free resources such as promotional materials and suggested outreach strategies to engage residents in water and energy-saving activities.

Cities then use these resources to encourage residents to sign individual pledges, where they are entered into the national competition and given access to a series of informative, easy-to-use and engaging online tools to help them meet their goals. The National Mayors Challenge for Water Conservation provides an engaging, no-cost platform for cities to raise community awareness and promote water conservation while also signaling their commitment to these important issues at the national level.

The challenge is free for cities and their residents and is made possible by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National League of Cities, CH2M Hill’s WaterMatch program, the Rain Bird Corporation, Lowe’s Home Improvement stores and the U.S. Forest Service.  

New to the challenge this year is the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Experience, a 1,000-square foot interactive exhibit that demonstrates how water shapes human lives. The traveling exhibit features interactive models – from an onboard running river to a 40-person theater with computer-controlled special effects – to explore the nation's complex relationship with its water resources. Kicking off at the beginning of March, the tour will travel across the U.S., visiting schools and community events.

In recognition of Earth Month, the 2013 Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation will take place from April 1-30. Cities are encouraged to sign the pledge and begin promoting the event and conducting outreach to residents in March.

Details: To learn more about the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Experience and the National Mayor’s Challenge, please visit www.mywaterpledge.com. For tips on how to save water every day and to learn about water efficient products for the home, visit EPA's WaterSense page.