The city of Gainesville has placed first in its population category in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.
The Mayor’s Challenge is an annual nationwide competition held every April to raise awareness for water conservation and to encourage citizens’ participation in becoming “water-wise.” Cities compete for the greatest percentage of population to take a pledge to reduce their energy and water waste and consumption.
“This recognition shows how committed Gainesville neighbors are to protecting our water resources and ensuring a sustainable community for the future of Gainesville,” Gainesville mayor Harvey Ward said in a press release.
The contest is hosted by The Wyland Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which aims to promote, protect, and preserve the world’s oceans, waterways, and marine life through educational programs, public art projects, and community events.
Contest participants nationwide pledged to conserve 1.8 billion gallons of water, use 4.1 million less plastic water bottles, and reduce landfill waste by 49 million pounds. The Wyland Foundation predicts these pledges should save 6.6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide and 123 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.
In the category of cities with populations of 100,000 to 299,999, Gainesville finished ahead of Miramar, Fla., Surprise, Ariz., Broken Arrow, Okla., and Greeley, Colo.
“We are proud of our customers for their continued commitment to conserve this precious resource,” Debbie Daugherty, Gainesville Regional Utilities’ water and wastewater officer, said in a statement. “The Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is a great reminder of the many ways we can limit usage and lessen our environmental footprint.”
The Wyland Foundation will award hundreds of prizes to participants from each of the winning cities. The prize pool for each city includes:
- A grand prize of $3,000 toward home utility payments;
- 50 Toro Bluetooth hose-end watering timers;
- 100 Zenni ReMakes sustainable glasses;
- 50 gift cards to Hobie Surf Shop;
- 50 Petal reusable hand soap bottles and soap pods;
- 25 $25 e-gift cards for home improvement stores; and
- 10 Wyland Foundation recycled logo hats.
Individual prize winners will be announced between May 1, 2023, and August 31, 2023.