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Tucson vying for 5th win in national water-saving contest

Tucson is vying to flex its water conservation credentials in this year’s “My Water Pledge” competition put on by the Wyland Foundation, an ocean and marine life protection nonprofit.

Mayors across the country posted videos asking their residents to sign an online pledge to reduce water use in their daily lives, including in home appliances, yard work and elsewhere in their communities.

Cities with the highest percentages of residents who sign the pledge win prizes for their residents, including $3,000 to homes to pay utilities, $50,000 to individuals and a Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV for nonprofits.

To win the prizes, residents have to enter their names into a raffle by taking the pledge then sharing the link on Facebook. Residents nominate their favorite nonprofits after taking the pledge.

The competition ends on April 30. Tucson is competing against other cities with populations of 300,000 and 599,999 and is currently in third place behind Sacramento, Calif., and Mesa, Ariz.. It’s ahead of Aurora, Col., and Albuquerque, N.M.

Tucson has won the competition four times in the past, including in last year’s competition and in 2018 and 2019, when Jonathan Rothschild was mayor.

Mayor Regina Romero posted a video at the beginning of the month saying she took the pledge and water-saving efforts like taking a timed, five-minute shower, adding that her family is committed as well.

“As an arid city and the third fastest warming city in the US, Tucson has to be (a national leader in water conservation),” the mayor said in the video. “The challenge of climate change means that we must speed up our effort as responsible stewards of our water resources.”

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Tucson residents have reduced their individual water use by more than 30 percent over the last 30 years, she said. The mayor is also leading an effort to plant 1 million trees in Tucson, which is meant to capture water among other positive climate effects, according to the campaign’s website.

Bennito L. Kelty is TucsonSentinel.com’s IDEA reporter, focusing on Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access stories, and a Report for America corps member.

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courtesy of Wyland Foundation

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