Charlottesville Water Conservation Program receives regional, national recognition

CharlottesvilleThe City of Charlottesville Water Conservation Program, officially established in 2002 after the harsh drought of 2001, developed a public awareness campaign to save water and promote free indoor water saving kits.

The Program continues to help the community save water, energy, and money and still provides the free water saving kits today, available year-round to all City residents at the Office of Utility Billing in City Hall. This year the Charlottesville Water Conservation Program received recognition from two organizations for excellence in promoting water conservation in the community.

The Virginia Section of the American Water Works Association (VA AWWA) recognized the City of Charlottesville with a 2016 VA AWWA Public Information Award. This award recognizes the Program’s dedication to communication to the Charlottesville community through the use of social media. The City of Charlottesville was honored at the WaterJam conference on September 14th, 2016. The Water Conservation Program has an active Facebook page (www.facebook.com/CVilleWaterConservation) and utilizes the Charlottesville’s Department of Public Works’ Twitter account (@CvillePW) to connect to the community with resources and tips to save water, and promote water saving City programs or events.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized the city with a 2016 WaterSense Partner of the Year award for the second year in a row as a leader in saving water for future generations. The City of Charlottesville was honored at the WaterSmart Innovations Conference on October 6, 2016, for promoting water efficiency and WaterSense in 2015. More than 1,700 utilities, manufacturers, retailers, builders, and organizations partner with WaterSense. Only a select few, however, are recognized each year for their significant program contributions. Since 2006, The City of Charlottesville and other WaterSense partners have helped consumers save 1.5 trillion gallons of water, more than the amount of water used by all households in California for a year. In addition to water savings, WaterSense labeled products and homes have helped reduce the amount of energy needed to heat, pump, and treat water by 212 billion kilowatt hours since the program began in 2006, enough energy to supply a year’s worth of power to more than 19.4 million homes.

The City of Charlottesville Water Conservation Program was honored as a 2016 WaterSense Partner of the Year for hard work in 2015. Key activities included:

  • Imagine a Day without Water campaign which included a kickoff event and art contest for 1st – 8th graders, where the campaign encouraged the community to think about the value of water.
  • The Fix a Leak Family 5K Fun Run at which participants raced a “running toilet” and learned about finding and fixing leaks in their home.
  • Distribution of free water conservation kits by a student-led group called “Blue Team” through Charlottesville’s Community Attention Program.
  • Participation in numerous community events throughout the entire year as well as promotion of conservation messages and tips to save water through TV commercials, print ads, radio ads, and social media.
  • Providing water saving fixtures and rebates (including ones for WaterSense toilets as well as rain barrels) to help residents actively save water. In 2015, Charlottesville handed out more than 600 water conservation kits and an additional 500 WaterSense labeled faucet aerators to its residents.

“Through the continued support and efforts of the Charlottesville community to be “A Green City”, water conservation has remained an important aspect in Charlottesville,” said Jill Greiner, the City of Charlottesville’s Water Conservation Program Coordinator. “Through the City’s efforts to implement water saving programs and educate the community, coupled with the community’s commitment to save water, we have continued to see a gradual decline in our average single-family water consumption each year.”

For more information about the water utility and water conservation program, visit: www.charlottesville.org/water.

For more information about WaterSense, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.

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