Sarasota Joins 'My Water Pledge' Challenge

Todays News


As a nonprofit community service campaign, doubling also as an annual friendly competition between cities across the US to see who can be the most “water-wise,” mayors and other city leaders nationwide challenge their residents to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their hometown. Mayor Liz Alpert and the City of Sarasota announced their participation and are asking residents to make a long-term commitment to manage water resources more wisely, by taking part in the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, named for the same environmental artist whose gallery showcases oceanographic art on St. Armands Circle and whose nonprofit, Wyland Foundation, introduced this environmental initiative to the City of Sarasota.  

“Not only is this a great program for water conservation, but it also aligns with the City’s commitment to reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy through our Ready for 100 initiative,” says Sustainability Manager Stevie Freeman-Montes. “Wastewater pumping and treatment accounts for a majority of our energy consumption as a city, so a reduction in water use by the community will have the added benefit of limiting our energy use.” She and Communications Manager Jan Thornburg urge Sarasota residents to take the pledge. “It’s a win-win-win.” says Thornburg. “Not only are you saving water and pollution, you’re saving money as an individual homeowner/renter and helping everybody else in the community save money.” In such a water- and energy-focused city, the local conservation efforts make a huge impact. “It just trickles on,” Freeman-Montes says, with no pun intended.

Through a series of informative, easy pledges online, the annual challenge runs from April 1-30, and involves using fresh water consumption more efficiently, being cognizant of energy-efficiency, reducing pollution and preventing hazardous waste sent to landfills from entering the watershed.

Freeman-Montes recommends simple lifestyle practices to achieve these, such as fixing faulty leaks in toilets and faucet piping. “It’s a concrete way to do your part—so many people don’t realize they have plumbing leaks and are wasting water everyday,” she says. “It’s easy to check in the back of the toilet or underneath the sink and get those sealed.” Also, turning the hose off all the way, taking shorter showers, not letting the sink run as long and planting native plants in the yard are great ways to contribute. Native plants, trees and wildflowers have adapted to the Florida climate and don’t need any more watering than what the natural environment provides already. They also better filter nutrients into the soil and provide better habitat for indigenous wildlife.

Without really even needing a trade-off for efforts to reduce the carbon footprint on hometowns, residents are still incentivized with a potential to win $3,000 towards their home utility bills, Toro Irrigation Smart Controllers, ECOS home cleaning products, water-saving fixture retrofits from EcoSystems Inc. and hundreds of other sustainably-focused prizes. In addition, participants from winning cities with the highest percentage will have the opportunity to nominate a deserving local charity to receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and continue serving its community with a brand new, eco-friendly vehicle to represent the cause.

“The City of Sarasota, my fellow commissioners and I, and the citizens we serve, all care deeply about protecting our environment,” Mayor Alpert says. “I hope our residents will join me in taking this pledge and doing their part to conserve this precious natural resource.”

To participate, residents can click on the green "Take the Pledge!" button to make a series of free, online pledges to conserve water on behalf of the City of Sarasota in the Mid-Size Community category.

My Water Pledge

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