REXBURG — The city of Rexburg will be honored in a special ceremony at 10:30 am Thursday, Aug. 22, in front of hundreds of students and dignitaries at Madison Middle School, 575 West Seventh Street, as one of five winning cities in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. The event will recognize the efforts of Rexburg residents who pledged in April to reduce water use by 42 million gallons over the next year and make lifestyle changes to guard against future water shortages.

Presented each April by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S EPA, National League of Cities, The Toro Company, Earth Friendly Products – maker of ECOS, and Conserva Irrigation, the mayor’s water challenge addresses the growing importance of educating consumers about the many ways they use water.

“This campaign is about reminding people across the country that we need to work together to manage our water resources wisely,” said renowned marine life artist Wyland, who started the foundation over 25 years ago. “There are many things we can all do as a nation, but it all starts with simple actions at home and in communities like Rexburg.”

In addition to now being entered into a drawing for thousands of dollars in water-saving or eco-friendly prizes, including $3,000 toward their annual home utility bill, residents who made conservation pledges earned the right to nominate deserving charities in their community to receive the National Grand Prize, a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid XLE.

Mayor Jerry Merrill, Idaho Senate Leader Brent Hill, and Toyota Director of Environmental Sustainability Kevin Butt will be on hand to award the grand prize vehicle to the D.A.R.E. program of Rexburg, which was among 20,000 charities nominated nationwide. Charities with the most nominations from each winning city were judged by organizers on the basis of how they would use a fuel-efficient vehicle for the ongoing benefit of the community.

“Conserving water and protecting water resources depends on the actions each of us take,” said Toyota’s Kevin Butt. “The donation of this vehicle to the regional D.A.R.E. program will impact over 90,000 people and serve as a visual reminder of the city’s conservation commitment for years,” he added.

In addition to reducing overall water waste, challenge participants in 50 states pledged to reduce their use of single-use plastic water bottles by 8.6 million and eliminate 179,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering watersheds. By altering daily lifestyle choices, residents also pledged to put 80 million fewer pounds of waste in landfills. Potential savings of 22.6 million gallons of oil, 12.9 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, 196 million kilowatt hours of electricity, and $39.6 million in consumer cost savings rounded out the final pledge results.

To contact Victoria email her at vvarnedoe@uvsj.com or call her at 208.356.5441. at extension 13.