Palm Coast - Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland is joining mayors across the country in asking residents to take or renew their pledges to manage water resources more wisely by taking part in the annual National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation. This year's "Stop the Drops" campaign runs through the end of April.

Please go online at www.mywaterpledge.com between now and April 30 to take the Water Challenge Pledge!

In return, residents could have the chance to win $3,000 toward their home utility bills, home irrigation kits, home improvement store gift cards and more. You can also nominate your favorite local charity. The charity with the most nominations from each winning city will be invited to submit a questionnaire to share how they would use the winning prize, a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, to serve their community. The charity with the highest service score based on the judging criteria will receive the vehicle.

The annual Wyland Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation during the month of April is a friendly non-profit national community service campaign and competition to see which cities can best inspire their residents to make a series of informative and easy-to-do online pledge to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution and save energy.

This will be Palm Coast's fifth year to participate in the national competition, and the City was proud to come in 18th in the nation for cities with a population of 30,000-99,999 in 2018.

"Water conservation is especially important to us and other communities across Florida," said Palm Coast Mayor Milissa Holland. "We are honored to have been in the Top 20 for cities our size in the Water Conservation Challenge for the past five years, and we are excited about participating again in 2019. Let's all conserve water together!"

Last year, residents from 3,800 cities around the U.S. pledged to reduce their annual consumption of water and energy. This resulted in 22.2 million gallons of oil saved; 191.9 pounds of KWH hours saved; 12.6 billion pounds of CO2 reduced; $38.4 million in consumer savings; and 3 billion gallons of water saved.

Cities compete in the following population categories: (5,000-29,999 residents, 30,000-99,999 residents, 100,000-299,999 residents, 300,000-599,999 residents, and 600,000+ residents). The City of Palm Coast has 86,516 residents. Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the Challenge in their population category are entered into drawings for hundreds of eco-friendly prizes.

The 8th National Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation is presented by the Wyland Foundation and presenting partner Toyota, in association with the U.S EPA WaterSense, The Toro Company, National League of Cities, Conserva Irrigation, and Earth Friendly Products (makers of ECOS).

Founded by renowned environmental artist Wyland, the Wyland Foundation has helped children and families around the nation to rediscover the importance of healthy oceans and waterways through public art programs, classroom science education, and live events. The foundation gives children the tools they need to become more creative, positive, and solution-oriented. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and has worked directly with more than one million children since its inception in 1993.

Here are some tips to help Palm Coast residents stop the drops, saving water and money in the process:

  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth, wash your face, shave, or clean the house.
  • Take a shower instead of a bath - it uses about a third of the water.
  • Run the dishwasher instead of washing by hand - it uses far less hot water.

Beyond that, let innovation and technology work for you.

  • For washing machines with variable settings for water volume, select the minimum amount required per load. Otherwise, wash only full loads.
  • Install low-flow toilets and showerheads to dramatically reduce your water consumption. There is now a good selection of quality toilets that use just .08 gallons of water per flush (half a current toilet).
  • When buying new appliances, look for the Energy Star certification. A new washing machine uses a third of the water of a traditional washer.
  • Look for the EPA Water Sense label for any fixtures you're buying, such as faucets, toilets, and showers. Water Sense fixtures are tested for performance as well as low-flow.
  • Add a smart sprinkler controller for your irrigation system and use sensors that monitor soil moisture or evapotranspiration (aka ET) to cut down on unnecessary lawn watering.

Lastly, check for leaks and follow the St. Johns River Water Management District's watering restrictions.

  • A running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water per day. At 1 drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons per year. To check for leaks, read your meter before and after a 1-hour period when no water is being used. (Remember to wait for the ice maker to refill and for regeneration of water softeners, if used.) If readings are different after the hour, you have a leak. Also monitor your bill for unusually high use.
  • Lawn watering is limited to twice a week during Daylight Savings Time (March to November), and one day a week the rest of the year. See all the rules at palmcoastgov.com; search for "watering restrictions."
  • Select native-Florida trees and shrubs that need less watering when landscaping.