Enough to fill 31 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
That’s the amount of water Hot Springs residents pledged to save over the next year as part of the 2015 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, an annual awareness event that encourages leaders to promote water efficiency in their communities. The resulting numbers placed Hot Springs as a top ten finisher among other cities across the United States with the highest percentage of residents in their population categories who made water-saving pledges. Hot Springs placed second in the 30,000 to 99,999 population category. This is Hot Springs’ first year to participate.
Through a grassroots public engagement campaign that included Mayor Ruth Carney, City Manager David Watkins and Garland County Judge Rick Davis teaming up to record public service announcements, residents made online commitments to save water and preserve the environment. Between April 1-30, more than 400 local residents made 5151 pledges that, in addition to reducing water use by 20,081,050 gallons, would cut single-use plastic water bottle usage by 60,955 and eliminate 1,791 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, pledges also resulted in potential savings of 165,665 gallons of oil, 100,893,426 pounds of carbon dioxide, 604,230 fewer pounds at the landfill and $451,104 in consumer cost savings.
Across the nation, residents from more than 3,900 cities made more than 391,325 pledges online to reduce 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 consume water — from swapping their lawns out in favor of drought-resistant native plants to looking at how water is used for food and manufacturing.
Winning cities included San Diego, CA, Aurora, CO, Torrance, CA, Poway, CA, and Hermosa Beach, CA. More than 135 mayors across the United States, including Mayor Carney, sent personal appeals to residents to participate in the online challenge.
The challenge is presented nationally by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, National League of Cities, Toro Company, Bytelaunch and WaterSmart Software. Winning cities won water-saving or eco-friendly prizes, including a water-efficient landscape park or school makeover and smart software tools for water utilities to help reduce resident water consumption.