YORKVILLE – Yorkville is joining cities across the country in asking residents to make a long-term commitment to manage water resources more wisely by taking part in the 9th National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.
Erin Willrett, assistant city administrator for United City of Yorkville, said this is the third year the city is participating in the educational campaign. She said Yorkville has ranked in the campaign's top 20 towns and municipalities in the last couple of years.
“So we hope to keep that streak going,” Willrett said.
Willrett said the challenge historically has been held during Earth Month, or April. However, she said, this year's challenge was pushed back to August, which is Water Month, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual challenge will run through August 31 this year.
Willrett said residents can do the challenge with their family or friends and learn related tidbits when they go to mywaterpledge.com and pledge to do better with conservation efforts on behalf of Yorkville.
“Whether it be turning off the faucet while you’re brushing your teeth or turning off the lights when you leave the room to save energy," Willrett said. "There’s a ton of different things that we can do if we’re just more cognizant and aware of our footprint every day on Earth.“
Cities compete in the following population categories: 5,000- 29,999 residents, 30,000-99,999 residents, 100,000-299,999 residents, 300,000-599,999 residents, and more than 600,000 residents.
Willrett said residents of cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge in their population category could win up to $3,000 off utility bill per year in participating in the challenge. She said one lucky winner will receive 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE that would go to charity or municipality of that person’s choice.
According to a city news release, other eco-friendly prizes participating residents could win including Toro Irrigation Smart Controllers and ECOS home cleaning products.
Last year, residents across all 50 U.S. states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by 3 billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 80 million pounds and prevent more than 179,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds, according to a city news release. The challenge goes beyond drought issues and looks at the ways our water use will affect the future of our communities — from how residents grow food to reducing polluted runoff.
The update comes after the Yorkville City Council voted, 7-0, to approve a resolution in support of the challenge during their Tuesday, July 28 meeting, with aldermen and women in attendance physically and remotely. Ward 3 Alderman Joel Frieders was absent from the meeting.
Yorkville Mayor John Purcell said during the Tuesday meeting that participating in the challenge is important because the city is going to have to make decisions on water source in the next few years. Eventually, the current water wells are going to run out of supply and the city is expected to make a choice of the Fox River or Lake Michigan as their water source.
However, Purcell said, the less water residents use, the less it will cost because there’s a direct fee to pay someone else for that water.
“So this is good practice now,” Purcell said.