Palm Coast won first place in the 8th Annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation for cities its size, with 8,022 Palm Coast residents pledging to cut water use by 33 million gallons over the next year, the Wyland Foundation announced Monday. The amount of water residents pledged to save equates to the volume of 44 Palm Coast water towers. The tower off I-95 holds 750,000 gallons.
The Water Challenge is a friendly non-profit national community service campaign and competition inspiring residents to make a series of easy-to-do online pledge to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution and save energy. Residents made their pledges April 1-30. The city named this effort the ‘Stop the Drops’ campaign and provided residents tips on saving water in their homes.
“Congratulations to the citizens of Palm Coast for winning first place in this year’s Water Challenge and even more importantly for your commitment to save water,” said Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland. “We are a conservation-minded community, and this accomplishment is a testament to our desire to protect this precious natural resource. Although we’re surrounded by water here in Florida, drinking water is not abundant. In fact, the aquifer – our primary source for drinkable water – cannot recharge quickly enough to keep up with growth. Water conservation is our best option for ensuring an adequate supply as demand for water continues to grow.”
In addition to the 8,022 pledges to reduce water use, Palm Coast residents pledged to reduce their use of 88,000 single-use plastic water bottles and eliminate 1,896 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, residents pledges to send 883,000 fewer pounds of waste to area landfills. Potential savings of 239,000 gallons of oil, 138 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 2.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity, and $409,571 in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results.
Throughout April, the city publicized pushed the message of water conservation through social media, advertising in local media and at city events where staff handed out ‘Stop the Drops’ business cards, among other communications efforts.
Residents from the five first-place winning cities will now be entered into a drawing for thousands of dollars in water-saving or eco-friendly prizes. See further details below.
Overall, residents around the nation, from Fairbanks, Alaska, to Winterport, Maine, made 740,143 pledges to change behaviors ranging from fixing home leaks to reducing harmful runoff into local rivers and streams.
As winners of the various prizes are announced in the coming weeks and months, it’s the perfect time for residents to think about the pledges they made and to follow through with the pledges they made for conserving water and energy.
The previous story is below.
Nationwide Water-Saving Pledge Contest Has Palm Coast In 2nd Place: You Can Make It #1
April 26–Palm Coast is currently ranked No. 2 in a nationwide water-conservation challenge among cities its size, and city officials hope residents will make enough additional pledges to push Palm Coast to No. 1 by the time the challenge ends on April 30.
The city with the highest percentage of residents who accept the challenge enables its participants to qualify for prizes that include free utilities for a full year (some $3,000 worth), gift cards, among many other prizes. Palm Coast is competing in the category for cities with a population of 30,000 to 100,000 residents.
Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland has joined mayors across the country for the past few years in asking residents to take or renew their pledges to manage water resources more wisely by taking part in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. This year’s campaign is called “Stop the Drops.”
Taking the pledge is easy: you go online here, enter Palm Coast in the search box, and start pledging through a few choices. For example, you may pledge to “Shorten your shower time, use low-flow devices and turn off the tap,” “Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes” and “Power down to save electricity”–that means putting your desktop to sleep” and turning off lights in unused rooms even if they’re energy-saving LED.
It’s not all about saving water directly, but indirectly: You may choose to use re-usable grocery bags (or better yet, shop at Aldi more often), waste less food, use refillable bottles (preferably not plastic) and request your drinks without a plastic straw (no matter what your local legislators say). You may add a little beautification to your home or yard with a few plants, “turn off sprinklers when it rains” (the pledge doesn’t include not watering your lawn, but it’s as good a suggestion as any: your lawn won’t die nor will you) and “use sprinklers on minimal setting before 8 a.m.
It’s also about recycling, walking or biking to work when you can, not flushing your pharmaceuticals, and so on. The pledge takes no more than two minutes.
You then enter your email address and choose a local charity of your choice, if it’s on the list. (Feel free to choose us: FlaglerLive can use new wheels.) You’ll be required to put in your name and address if you’d like to be considered for prizes. The pledge gremlins then calculate how many gallons your clicks pledged to save and flash the results (we apparently came in at 47,420 gallons for the year.)
The charity with the most nominations from each winning city will be invited to submit a questionnaire to share how they would use the winning prize, a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, to serve their community. The charity with the highest service score based on the judging criteria will receive the vehicle.
The annual Wyland Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is run every April. Palm Coast has participated for five years. Last year, residents from 3,800 cities around the U.S. pledged to reduce their annual consumption of water and energy. This resulted in 22.2 million gallons of oil saved; 191.9 pounds of KWH hours saved; 12.6 billion pounds of CO2 reduced; $38.4 million in consumer savings; and 3 billion gallons of water saved.
“Water conservation is especially important to us and other communities across Florida,” Holland said. “We are honored to have been in the Top 20 for cities our size in the Water Conservation Challenge for the past five years, and we are excited about participating again in 2019. Let’s all conserve water together!”
Founded by renowned environmental artist Wyland, the Wyland Foundation has helped children and families around the nation to rediscover the importance of healthy oceans and waterways through public art programs, classroom science education, and live events. The foundation gives children the tools they need to become more creative, positive, and solution-oriented. The foundation is a non-profit organization and has worked directly with more than one million children since its inception in 1993.
Some tips to help Palm Coast residents stop the drops, saving water and money in the process:
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, wash your face, shave, or clean the house.
- Take a shower instead of a bath – it uses about a third of the water.
- Run the dishwasher instead of washing by hand – it uses far less hot water.
Beyond that, let innovation and technology work for you.
- For washing machines with variable settings for water volume, select the minimum amount required per load. Otherwise, wash only full loads.
- Install low-flow toilets and showerheads to dramatically reduce your water consumption. There is now a good selection of quality toilets that use just .08 gallons of water per flush (half a current toilet).
- When buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star certification. A new washing machine uses a third of the water of a traditional washer.
- Look for the EPA Water Sense label for any fixtures you’re buying, such as faucets, toilets, and showers. Water Sense fixtures are tested for performance as well as low-flow.
- Add a smart sprinkler controller for your irrigation system and use sensors that monitor soil moisture or evapotranspiration (aka ET) to cut down on unnecessary lawn watering.
Lastly, check for leaks and follow the St. Johns River Water Management District’s watering restrictions.
- A running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. At 1 drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons per year. To check for leaks, read your meter before and after a 1-hour period when no water is being used. (Remember to wait for the ice maker to refill and for regeneration of water softeners, if used.) If readings are different after the hour, you have a leak. Also monitor your bill for unusually high use.
- Lawn watering is limited to twice a week during Daylight Savings Time (March to November), and one day a week the rest of the year. See all the rules at palmcoastgov.com; search for “watering restrictions.”
- Select native-Florida trees and shrubs that need less watering when landscaping
And don’t stop saving water the 11 other months of the year.