Laguna joins water-wise challenge

Water was liquid gold in the Old West, and not much has changed. With sources drying up, conservation is the battle cry.

Mayor Jane Egly will join Newport Beach Mayor Nancy Gardner on Friday to kick off the monthlong Wyland Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation to see which city in the country can be the most water-wise, not to mention earn bragging rights.

The mayors will be joined by artist Robert Wyland, whose foundation is presenting the challenge, representative Michael Rouse from Toyota, and Nancy Stoner from the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

The Wyland Foundation developed the water-wise competition to see which leaders can most influence their residents to make a series of online commitments to reduce water and energy use, the district stated.

Egly is encouraging Laguna Beach residents to conserve water, save energy and reduce pollution on behalf of Laguna Beach at throughout the month of April.

"Laguna Beach is 100% dependent on imported water supplies from Northern California and Colorado," said Egly, who routinely announces water-saving tips at council meetings.

Both sources of supply have been reduced in recent years due to drought, below-normal snowpack in the Sierra, and worsening environmental and regulatory conditions.

"The Wyland Mayor's Challenge for Water Conservation keeps the attention focused on our individual responsibility to use this precious resource wisely," Egly said.

The public is invited to attend the kickoff, which will take place at 3 p.m. at the Back Bay Science Center, 600 Shellmaker Road in Newport Beach.

Egly's challenge is supported by the Laguna Beach County Water District, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Laguna Beach Woman's Club, Hurley and Hobie/Tuvalu, as well as the Wyland Foundation, according to a Water District press release.

The district provides water service to 22,000 residents within an 8.5-square-mile area of Laguna Beach, with the mission to keep Laguna wet while not draining it financially dry and to promote efficient water use.

"Laguna Beach has long been a city united in protecting our natural resources," Egly said. "I'm asking residents to take the pledge to show other cities around Orange County and the nation how committed Laguna Beach is to taking care of our planet."

Mayors across the country will be asking for the same commitment from their constituents to slash water and energy use.

Cities will be divided into four regions — West, Midwest, South and Northeast — and sub-divided by population. The winners will be the cities with the highest percentage of residents accepting the challenge, according to a statement from the Wyland Foundation.

Winners will be in the running for prizes that include a Toyota Prius hybrid, custom-designed Rain Bird sprinkler systems, Waterpik EcoFlow showerheads, Sterling water-saving toilets and gift cards from Lowe's Home Improvement stores in the winner's city.

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