National Mayor's Challenge Names Most Water Wise Cities

May 18, 2015
Residents across the country made more than 390,000 pledges to cut water use by 1.5 billion gal

Americans pledged to save enough water to fill 2,300 Olympic-sized swimming pools over the next year as part of the 2015 Wyland National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation, an annual awareness campaign presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota that encourages leaders to promote water efficiency in their communities. Between April 1 and 30, residents from more than 3,900 cities made 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 use water—from swapping their lawns out in favor of drought-resistant native plants to fixing leaks to looking at how we use water for food and manufacturing.

The cities with the highest percentage of residents that made pledges during the monthlong campaign included San Diego; Aurora, Colo.; Torrance, Calif.; Poway Calif.; and Hermosa Beach, Calif. Additionally, mayors of cities in 35 states, including Pittsburgh, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Stockton, Boise, Santa Fe, Pasadena, Gainesville, and Tucson stepped up their involvement with personal appeals to residents to participate.

Residents from winning cities will be entered into a drawing this month for more than $50,000 in water-saving or eco-friendly prizes, including a Grand Prize Toyota Prius v, EcoFlow showerheads from WaterPik, home irrigation equipment from the Toro Co., and hundreds of home improvement store gift cards. A $1,000 home  improvement store 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. Additional support for the challenge is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National League of Cities, the Toro Co., ByteLaunch and WaterSmart Software.

"Toyota is committed to using its knowledge, resources, and time to support programs that promote the efficient use of natural resources," said Kevin Butt, regional environmental director for Toyota. "We've been proud to watch the National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation grow in just a few short years from a grass-roots initiative with a handful of mayors to one of the largest water conservation awareness programs in the nation."

In addition to making 1.5 billion gal in 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 lb 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 gal of oil, 7 billion lb of carbon dioxide, 139 million kWh of energy, and $35 million in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results.

Source: Wyland Foundation