Athens wins national water-conservation contest

Athens finished among the nation’s top-five most “water-wise” cities in an annual water-conservation contest. (Photo/Joshua L. Jones, Athens Banner-Herald)

Athens-Clarke County is one of five winners of the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

 

Residents of more than 4,800 cities participated in the April competition by pledging to be good stewards of water.

Nearly 8,400 in Athens took the pledge, said Marilyn Hall, water conservation coordinator for the Athens-Clarke County Public Utilities Department.

Athens had the highest percentage of residents signing the pledge among cities with populations between 100,000 and 300,000, topping second-place Gainesville, Fla.

Four other cities won for different size categories: Laguna Beach, Calif.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; Aurora, Colo.; and Dallas, Texas.

Overall, the fifth annual contest garnered pledges to save more than 2.2 million gallons of water over the next year, according to a news release from Toyota, which sponsors the competition along with the Wyland Foundation. People taking the pledge also promised to cut down on their consumption of plastic water bottles.

Athens-Clarke County had finished high in the rankings before, but this is the first time the city topped the list, Hall said.

Athens-Clarke’s first-place finish means that the 8,373 residents who took the pledge, including a number of University of Georgia students, are now entered in a drawing to win a new Toyota Prius, among other prizes.

Those who took the pledge — 421,891 nationwide — promised to take various water-friendly steps such as repairing leaks at home or finding ways to reduce pollution in area streams and rivers.

Follow Lee Shearer at www.facebook.com/LeeShearerABH or https://twitter.com/LeeShearer

 

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