Rialto in final push for most “Water Wise” city during 4th annual Earth to Table event

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IECN photo RUSD: 1.300 3rd graders from the Rialto Unified School District visited City Hall last Wednesday for the 4th Annual Earth to Table event that taught students about water conservation, how food is grown, agriculture, how everything is derived from the earth, and the importance of keeping the planet clean and safe. Pictured in front of the Wyland Foundation’s Clean Water Mobile Learning Center are Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson and Dr. Darren McDuffie, RUSD Lead Strategic Agent: Strategics, Congruence & Social Justice.
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Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson called on residents and business to make a “final push” to put the city into first place in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation during the 4th Annual Earth to Table event on Wednesday, Apr. 20 at City Hall.

Photo RUSD: Kristina Kraushaar, left, and Sarah Aguilar, right, Rialto Unified School District Nutrition Services Supervisors explain the importance of good nutrition, and the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

The annual challenge ends April 30, but Rialto is currently not in the top 10 for cities its size for total pledges made so far.  The reason, officials believe, is that residents may feel they can back off conservation efforts considering the recent declaration that California’s devasting drought is over.

Robertson, however, urged residents to remain vigilant with water-use efficiency.

“Rialto and the Inland Empire are still in a ‘hidden drought’ because our groundwater basins have been suffering from 20 to 30 years of dry weather in Southern California. While one year of good rain may help fill above-ground reservoirs, it will take several years of wet weather to bring our underground storage basins back to their normal levels,” Robertson said during the annual “Earth to Table” event at the Rialto Civic Center.

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Robertson was joined today by Dr. Michael Taylor, president of the West Valley Water District board of directors, and Aaron Kraft, general manager of Rialto Water Services/Veolia, as well as more than 1,000 local students who learned about the planet’s overall importance to sustainable and healthy lives as well as toured a water education truck provided by the Wyland Foundation. The two water districts service the City of Rialto.

“We need Rialto to be Number One in the Mayor’s Water Challenge for many reasons – most importantly because it will demonstrate that our community understands the ongoing need to be vigilant with our water,” Taylor said. “I encourage everyone to take the pledge today.”

“The local groundwater basin can supply more than 70 percent of our water needs – if we take care of it,” Kraft said. “We must remain vigilant. California may have received a lot of rain this winter, but we could just as easily have another dry year ahead.”

Online pledges can be made at mywaterpledge.com. Those who complete a pledge are eligible for hundreds of prizes. Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category earn a chance to win $3,000 toward their home utility bills, and hundreds more eco-friendly prizes including Toro Irrigation Smart Controllers, ECOS home cleaning products, and home water fixture retrofits from EcoSystems Inc. In addition, residents can nominate a deserving charity from their city to receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Students and teachers are encouraged to take part, as well.

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