By Nancy Stoner
I am often asked what actions people can take to help the environment. One of my simple suggestions is to conserve water.
Earth may be known as the water planet, but even though 70 percent of its surface is covered by water, less than 1 percent is available for human use. And our supply of water becomes a more critical issue each day as the population grows; more water is used for agriculture, energy, industry; and droughts and other impacts of climate change increasingly stress our water resources. In fact, 36 states are expected to experience water shortages by 2013.
That’s why I was so happy to be standing with the marine life artist Wyland in Los Angeles on a sunny morning in March to help announce the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Led by the Wyland Foundation, it is a friendly, community-based competition between cities across the nation to see who can be the most “water wise” during April. With support from EPA, Toyota, U.S. Forest Service, NOAA, and a number of private companies, mayors can challenge residents to conserve water and energy through informative and easy online pledges.
I commend the leadership of the 40 mayors who have signed on, including the mayors of Los Angeles, Miami, Denver and Honolulu. Participating residents can win prizes including Toyota Prius Hybrid vehicles and home water makeover kits. Most importantly, people will see real results based on simple actions they can take to save water and energy.
I am proud that EPA’s WaterSense program is a partner and I believe this is an excellent opportunity to teach residents about the importance of water conservation and simple ways to make a difference in the home and community.
Five years ago, EPA created WaterSense to promote more efficient use of water. The WaterSense label is found on faucets, showerheads, toilets and other water fixtures, including irrigation controllers for the yard. There are over 4,000 products with the WaterSense label, many of which you find at your local home improvement store.
Using WaterSense products can save people money too. The average household spends more than $650 every year on water and sewer bills and can save more than $200 per year by installing WaterSense products. Since 2006, WaterSense has helped Americans save 125 billion gallons of water and $2 billion in utility bills.
I encourage you to take the challenge
About the author: Nancy Stoner is the Acting Assistant Administrator for the EPA’s Office of Water