Upper District Press Release:
June 22, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WATER CONSERVATION REIGNS IN THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY AS UPPER DISTRICT ANNOUNCES THE WINNERS OF THE 2015 WATER SMART CITY CHALLENGE
Azusa, Rosemead and West Covina Take Top Honors
MONROVIA, CA, — Three San Gabriel Valley cities will be honored Friday for winning the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District’s first-of-its-kind water conservation program, Water Smart City Challenge. The cities of Azusa, Rosemead, and West Covina received the top honors and will each receive a $50,000 grant towards a sustainable watershed project from Upper District.
Upper District will be honoring the winners of the San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge at an awards luncheon featuring district board members, city officials and state legislators, on July 24, 2015, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Doubletree Hilton in Monrovia.
In addition, South El Monte, Temple City, Glendora and South Pasadena also will be recognized for completing the challenge and receive the title of San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City. Each of these cities will also receive a large landscape survey and retrofit grant for their city halls from Upper District.
In response to Governor Jerry Brown’s emergency drought declaration in January 2014, Upper District’s Board of Directors unveiled a creative public outreach campaign that utilized existing conservation programs with innovative outreach components that encouraged cities to promote drought awareness to their residents. The San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge called upon all 18 cities within Upper District’s service territory to lead by example and adopt best practices for water conservation.
“Congratulations to the top three winners! The leadership displayed by our cities in promoting drought awareness was truly outstanding,” stated Michael Touhey, Board President of Upper District. “This unprecedented drought could not be more serious and our region is on the cutting edge for utilizing creative measures can be impact change at the local level.”
Upon announcing the program in June 2014, twelve cities within Upper District’s service territory eagerly signed up to fulfill eight out of the twelve challenge requirements. The requirements encouraged cities to: bring awareness of the drought to their residents; seek a citywide water use reduction; adopt city policies that contribute to the overall sustainability of the San Gabriel River Watershed; and promote conservation and water-saving rebates for businesses and residents via the Southland’s regional rebate program: www.socalwatersmart.com.
In addition to promoting water-saving rebates, participating cities engaged their residents on water conservation and drought awareness through city websites, PSAs, social media and newsletters; hosted high efficiency toilet giveaways with their water retailer; hosted drought-tolerant landscape classes for their residents; and approved municipal ordinances that addressed citywide water conservation standards.
Since implementing the challenge, rebates paid to residents in Upper District’s service territory increased by almost 1,100%. In fulfilling the challenge requirements, 1,200 free high efficiency toilets were distributed at city events and nine cities hosted gardening classes for their residents. Three cities passed low-impact development storm water ordinances; five cities adopted model water conservation ordinances and 24 city councilmembers and 26 city staff were educated through a variety of Upper District’s water-related forums and events.
“In partnering with our cities, we promoted water rebates and drought awareness throughout the San Gabriel Valley,” stated Touhey. “The rebate numbers for our region are higher than we predicted and it’s in large part due to the success of the program and positive relationships we have maintained with our cities. Our Water Smart Cities have set the standard for other cities to follow and hopefully inspire them to actively partner with their local water districts in promoting drought awareness to their communities.”
Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversified and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water. Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area. For more information about Upper District, please visit our website www.upperdistrict.org or call 626-443-2297.
Who: Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
What: Luncheon honoring the San Gabriel Valley Water Smart City Challenge award winners. The cities of Azusa, Rosemead, and West Covina took top prize and will each be awarded a $50,000 grant towards a sustainable watershed project from Upper District. South El Monte, Temple City, Glendora, and South Pasadena will also be recognized.
When: Friday, July 24, 2015 from noon to 2 p.m.
Where: Doubletree Hilton in Monrovia, CA
Download Press Release as PDF: SGV WSC Announcement 7 23 15