EP Mayor encourages residents to take the Water Pledge

Similar to the past several years, Eden Prairie Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens is challenging Eden Prairie residents to take part in the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

The free online contest, presented nationally by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, has residents pledge to conserve water, energy and other natural resources throughout April. Citizens can make a pledge at mywaterpledge.com, noting their residency in Eden Prairie.

“By participating in the challenge, Eden Prairie residents are demonstrating that our community is actively engaged in saving water, and recognizes that water conservation and other sustainable practices are necessary to maintain the high quality of life we all enjoy in Eden Prairie,” said Tyra-Lukens.

The competition is broken down by region and population. Eden Prairie will be competing against other cities in the Midwest with populations between 30,000 and 99,000.

The cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in each category are entered into drawings for eco-friendly prizes. Tyra-Lukens said that the city had performed strongly in past years, particularly the first year the competition was held.

Though the competitive element is entertaining, she noted that getting people to think about how they can conserve resources in their lives, this month and beyond, was of huge importance. She said it was easier to lose sight of the value of water conservation in a region abundant in the resource.

“I think, being in a state that has a lot of lakes around, people don’t realize that lake water isn’t the same as what comes out of your tap,” said Tyra-Lukens. “There’s an expensive process before you can drink it and use it for cooking and cleaning. [The competition] seemed like a logical thing to heighten awareness in a state where people might not be aware that water doesn’t come freely flowing out of your faucet.”

Ideas for what residents can do to conserve our natural resources are available on the mywaterpledge.com website and in the Sustainable Eden Prairie section of the city’s website, edenprairie.org/sustainableep. To learn more about Eden Prairie’s Water Conservation Rebate Programs, visit edenprairie.org/waterrebates.

Students and teachers can take part in the pledge, too, by visiting mywaterpledge.com/kids. There, teachers can download lesson plans on water conservation, make pledges on behalf of their class and enter to win classroom supplies and gift cards for their school.

Tyra-Lukens’ commitment to the conservation of Eden Prairie’s natural resources led to the formation of the city’s Conservation Commission, launching the successfully completed 20-40-15 energy-efficiency initiative, participation in the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program and receiving an honorable mention for the 2011 Mayors’ Climate Protection Awards. In its inaugural year, Eden Prairie won the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation for the Midwest region.

The sixth annual National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S. EPA, The Toro Company, National League of Cities, Conserva Irrigation and Earth Friendly Products (makers of ECOS).