GRN Reports

Water is a necessity. In fact it’s THE king of necessities.

Water -- mayors challenge, graphicYet freshwater supplies are becoming tenuous in plenty of places where we used to assume abundance. Already 36 states in the US are reporting regional water shortages. Freshwater’s slipping through our hands, like sand!

California’s really in a pickle, meaning it might not even be making pickles this year. The famed Central Valley, home to a cornucopia of produce that we Americans rely upon, looks more like a desert and less like a Mecca of agriculture every day. Officials may get the water to the crops, but there will be costs. You know it’s not a pretty picture when your governors asks you to not flush the toilet (so much).

California is not on its own in this. Drought conditions have malingered in Southwest and Midwest states. Meanwhile, intensive agriculture in the breadbasket – intent on feeding water to corn and corn to cows to make meat – drains once mighty aquifers. Elsewhere fracking contaminates and then deep sixes billions of gallons of tap water.

Will Americans ever snap to this issue?

Sounds like it’s time for a contest.

The Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation has sagely decided that a friendly sweepstakes with big prizes (like a Prius!) might start to wring some awareness out of the weary populace.

Here’s what you can do:  Make a pledge to save water. You might want to install a rainbarrel, take shorter showers, even better, whack out some of that thirsty turf that whining for a big sprinkler.

Important: Register this pledge at the Mayor’s Challenge. Before the contest concludes, April 30.

Next tell everyone in town or city to do the same, because residents of the winning city stand to win a boatload (that would be in boat in dry dock) of prizes. (Betcha you could use Facebook for that. Yup!)

First, there’s the Prius Plug-In, though you’ve only got one chance at that.

Other prizes include:

  • $1000 Shopping Spree at a Home Improvement Store
  • 50 Smart Irrigation Controllers from The Toro Company
  • 40 EcoFlow Showerheads
  • 250 Home Improvement Store Gift Cards ($25 value)

Checking out the past winners from 2013, it’s clear that this contest resonated in Arizona, Colorado and California. But the contest did attract pledges from more than 1,000 cities.

The organizers are trying to stoke that broad appeal this year, with participating mayors from
Seattle, Houston, Denver, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Diego, San Francisco, Long Beach, Calif., and Miami.

You might say, Miami? But Florida’s freshwater is threatened, just in a different way. Climate change models predict that the lower half of the state will be increasingly vulnerable to storm surges, which could compromise freshwater via incursions of seawater.

This timely water challenge is presented nationally by the Wyland Foundation, a charity started by the environmental artist Wyland, and Toyota. Additional support comes from the U.S EPA’s Office of Water, National League of Cities, U.S. Forest Service, The Toro Company, Wondergrove Kids, Bytelaunch, and WaterSmart Software.

While it already has several big city majors in tow, the group wants to all mayors everywhere to challenge their residents to conserve water, save energy and reduce pollution. Prize winners are selected from the cities with the highest percentage of participating pledges, based on their population. Large cities and smaller cities compete in different categories.

“Whether it’s drought conditions in the West or the high costs of energy related to water use in the East, saving water has become one of the most important issues facing the nation today,” said Wyland, a marine and conservation artist and president of the Wyland Foundation, a 501c3 charity started in 1993.