Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation: Celebrating 40 years of the Clean Water Act

by Raksha Vasudevan

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA), the primary federal law protecting water resources in the United States. In celebration and recognition of this milestone, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), together with partners across the country, is kicking off a series of events and activities to raise awareness about the importance of water throughout communities.

Through a newly launched EPA website - - city leaders and residents will find resources, ideas and information to promote water awareness, share best practices and review successes over the past forty years to protect and conserve water resources.

One particular action that city leaders are invited to participate in is the "Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation." Developed by the Wyland Foundation, in partnership with Toyota, the EPA, EPA WaterSense, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, National Geographic Explorer in Residence Dr. Sylvia Earle, WaterPik, Rain Bird, Lowe's and STERLING Plumbing, this initiative calls on mayors to challenge each other's cities and encourage residents to conserve water, save energy and reduce pollution throughout the month of April.

The challenge requires no additional staff time or cost to cities and will be promoted in USA Today, on AOL and via local and national news media. Mayors can have residents enter their ZIP Code at and make a water-saving pledge on behalf of their city between March 30 and April 30.

Participating 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 or 100,000+ residents). Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge win. Those residents will be eligible to win more than $50,000 in prizes, including water-saving appliances and a Toyota Prius Hybrid. Additionally, residents will find resources in their city to take their commitment to conservation even further, from regional water and energy resource issues to cost-saving tips at home.

Details: Mayors can participate in the Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation by signing an online letter of support, which includes complete details about the program, or by calling (949) 643-7070 to request participation information. Additionally, cities are encouraged to visit to learn more about activities, events and resources from the EPA in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the CWA.