Residents across the United States took part in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation by pledging to save more than three billion gallons of water over the next year, with Laguna Beach among the cities with the highest participation, it was announced Thursday.
The 10th annual campaign to promote water-resource resiliency ended with mayors from 42 states vying to see whose city could be the nation’s most “water wise,” according to the Orange County-based Wyland Foundation founded in 1993 by the artist to promote, protect and preserve the world’s ocean, waterways and marine life.
In addition to Laguna, the cities with the highest percentage of residents making pledges included Oceanside in San Diego County; North Port, Florida; Tucson, Arizona; and Dallas, Texas.
Overall, residents around the nation made 759,000 pledges to change behaviors ranging from fixing home leaks to reducing harmful runoff into local streams, according to the foundation, which sponsors the challenge with Toyota to address the growing importance of educating consumers about the many ways they use water.
In addition to online pledges, residents supported the health of local watersheds with tree plantings, storm drain projects, neighborhood cleanups to remove pollution that might otherwise find its way into storm channels, and mobile science outreach in Florida, Arizona and California.
Residents from winning cities will now be entered into a drawing for eco-friendly prizes, including $3,000 toward their annual home utility bill, home irrigation equipment from The Toro Company, gift cards for shopping at Hobie Surf Shops and eco-friendly hand soaps from Petal. A $500 home-improvement shopping spree will also be chosen from among the entire pool of U.S. participants.
“In addition to reducing water waste, participants in 50 states pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic bottles by 7.4 million and eliminate 176,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds,” according to a statement released by the foundation. “By altering daily lifestyle choices, residents also pledged to put 80 million fewer pounds of waste in landfills. Potential savings of 11 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, 199 million kilowatt-hours of electricity and $14 million in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results.”
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