Toyota and Wyland Foundation Challenge Americans to Save Water

(3BL Media/Just Means) - In the wake of World Water Day and in the face of severe water shortages, including the most severe drought California has faced in decades, water is a major environmental challenge these days. Earlier this month, the Wyland Foundation and Toyota launched the third annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation to rally Americans to make the most pledges to reduce water and energy usage through the My Water Pledge website.

The campaign gives mayors and city leaders a positive, grass-roots way to reward people for their awareness efforts ​,​ includ​ing​ a competition among like-sized cities to get the highest percentage of pledges. The program runs through April and will award more than 300 eco-friendly prizes, including one of Toyota’s flagship hybrid vehicles, ​the ​Prius Plug-in.

Winning cities will also receive a set of high-tech software tools exclusively for water utilities to help reduce resident water consumption by at least five percent. Among the cities that have risen to the challenge are Los Angeles, Portland, Tucson, San Diego, Denver, Orlando, Honolulu and Miami.

​Teachers and students can join the pledge, too. In ​order to address the growing interest in water conservation in schools, organizers added a companion website for kids. A section of the website dedicated to children ​ i​ncludes teacher lesson plans, a video message from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, and animated public service announcements to encourage teachers and students to take the challenge on behalf of their city. Teachers who make the pledge for their classes will also be entered into drawings for $500 in classroom supplies.

“Water conservation is a high priority for Toyota. In fact, our manufacturing plants have reduced water use per vehicle by 23 percent since 2000, and are setting new goals for further reduction,” said Michael Rouse, vice president, diversity, philanthropy and community affairs for Toyota Motor Sales, USA. “Not only does it make good business sense, but we want to be a part of the solution.”

Other program supporters include the U.S. EPA’s Office of Water, National League of Cities, U.S. Forest Service, The Toro Company,, and WaterSmart Software.

Last year, residents from more than 1,000 cities in all 50 states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by nearly a billion gallons ​, ​reduce waste sent to landfills by 18.3 million pound​s,​ prevent more than 69.9 million pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds , ​and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2.7 million pounds.

Image credit: Toyota