Charlottesville to take part in water conservation challenge

City to compete with other localities accross the nation


Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja (above) will urge city residents to conserve water.

The third annual Wyland Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation — a month-long competition between communities across the nation to see who can achieve the greatest reduction in water and energy consumption — will take place in Charlottesville throughout the month of April.

“The City of Charlottesville has a long history of being proactive in saving water and conserving energy,” Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja said in a press release. “This is just one more way for the City and our residents to reaffirm our commitment to responsible stewardship of our resources. Something as simple as turning off a faucet while you brush your teeth can save up to four gallons of water a day.”

The competition is sponsored by the Wyland Foundation, a non-profit organization which promotes environmental awareness through public service projects and education programs. Participants in the competition make a four-step conservation pledge on behalf of their city and track their progress online.

Kaitlin Finan, water conservation coordinator for the Charlottesville Department of Public Works, said that Huja will appeal directly to residents to encourage significant reductions in their ecological footprint.

“[Huja] will be working with a team of City employees to implement a media campaign as well as outreach events,” she said. “We will have ads running in the C-Ville Weekly and will be at the EcoFair during Earth Week to promote this initiative.”

To encourage Charlottesville residents to save water, Finan said the City offers multiple incentives, such as a $100 rebate for efficient WaterSense toilets as well as a $30 rain barrel that captures rainwater that can be for gardens, car washing and other household tasks. Free conservation kits can also be redeemed at the utilities billing office or the public works administrative building. The kits come with a high-efficiency shower head, leak detection dye tablets and informational brochures.

Finan said there are numerous steps residents can take to save water on a daily basis.

“You can check for leaks — they can waste up to 10,000 gallons per year — twist on an aerator to your faucets or replace dated fixtures and appliances with WaterSense labeled products,” Finan said. “WaterSense labeled products have been independently tested to be at least 20 percent more efficient than similar products while performing at the same quality.”

As a result of the pledges made last year, 750 million gallons of water, 5.4 million disposable water bottles and 2.7 billion pounds of carbon dioxide were saved. A total of $30.6 million was also saved, with a 69.9 million pound reduction in hazardous waste.

In 2012, the city of Charlottesville, with a population between 30,000 and 100,000, received the most pledges for their population division.

The conservation challenge is also supported by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Forest Service, the Toro Company, Wondergrove Kids, Bytelaunch and WaterSmart Software.

Published April 3, 2014 in FP test, News

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