Rialto has finished highest among all California communities in its category after participating in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.
The one-month challenge is a nonprofit national community service campaign to see which leaders can best inspire their residents to make a series of informative and easy-to-do online pledges at mywaterpledge.com.
It was the first time Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson took on the challenge to call on residents to pledge to be water savers, reduce pollution and save energy. She even visited schools and challenged children to take part in the effort and share the information with parents.
The result of the effort placed Rialto as fifth among all U.S. cities with populations between 100,000 and 299,000. Rialto residents made the most number of water-saving pledges among any California city in this category during the month of April, according to a news release.
A community outreach effort by Veolia, which operates Rialto Water Services, also helped the city place top five.
“I am extremely pleased with the results, especially since this was our first year to participate. We did better than other cities that had previously participated in this contest. This tells me our residents and businesses share a common commitment to use water efficiently and be a more sustainable-oriented community,” Robertson said in the news release.
According to the news release, in recent contests, residents from more than 4,100 cities in all 50 U.S. states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by 1.9 billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 42 million pounds, and prevent more than 87,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds. The challenge goes beyond recent drought issues and looks at the ways water use will affect the future of communities — from how to grow food to reducing polluted runoff.
While Robertson challenged residents to be waterwise throughout April, “being a water-saver year round is the ultimate goal” she said.
The challenge was presented as the region’s groundwater basin levels are at a record low. And with the basin supplying more than half the drinking water for the city, the long-term commitment to manage water resources more wisely is more crucial than ever, Robertson said.
Another three years of good rainfall is needed in order for the basin to be fully restored, the release states.
Robertson said now is the time that to act on the pledges.
“We need to take action to save water,” she said.
“Rialto Water Services, operated by Veolia and West Valley Water District, offers various rebates to make (the commitment) easy,” she said.
“Every home, business and local organization can always do more to prevent water waste and to be more efficient with this precious resource.”