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San Luis Obispo mayor urges residents join water conservation challenge

 Whale Rock Reservoir, San Luis Obispo County, California
Photo by decentjoyce on Flickr
Flickr: Whale Rock Reservoir
Whale Rock Reservoir, San Luis Obispo County, California

The City of San Luis Obispo is participating in a challenge for residents to save water.

The Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is an annual competition between cities across the US to see who can preserve the most water. Participants have a chance to win prizes, including having their utilities paid for the entire year.

SLO Mayor Erica Stewart is joining mayors across the country to challenge residents to conserve water.

“This is just a fun way to get additional education out and really talk about water,” Stewart said.

Residents can participate through a series of online pledges with actionable steps to reduce their household water consumption. This includes installing water-efficient sprinklers and shower heads, some of which the city offers for free.

Water conservation is a priority for cities across California experiencing drought, including San Luis Obispo.

However, the city says it's water secure especially after heavy rainfall from recent storms boosted its water supply.

But with city reservoirs now filled to capacity, Stewart is concerned the community will forget the importance of saving water.

“This is when people get really comfortable,” Stewart said. “It’s, ‘Oh, we have all this water- let's go do all this extra stuff!’”

Climate change has made weather conditions increasingly unpredictable, meaning there could be more extreme weather events to come.

That’s why Stewart said water conservation efforts in SLO are more important than ever.

“Unfortunately, with climate change there's extreme heat and extreme water and extreme cold,” Stewart said. “There's been a lot of changes, and we want to make sure we're helping everyone be as prepared as possible.”

Stewart’s participation in the water conservation challenge is part of the city’s efforts to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030. One of the city’s largest projects is upgrading its Water Resource Facility, which turns wastewater into potable water.

Stewart said SLO has withstood California’s drought conditions thanks to the community’s dedication to water conservation.

“I appreciate the hard work that this community has done to get us to this point where we have been able to make it past two droughts,” Stewart said.

Residents who want to participate in this year’s Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge can visit

Amanda Wernik is a reporter and substitute announcer at KCBX. She graduated from Cal Poly with a BS in Journalism. During her time at Cal Poly, she worked as a news anchor for KCPR Radio and as an intern for the CJ Silas Show on ESPN Radio. Amanda enjoys surfing, reading, playing with her dog, traveling, and fronting her own rock band, Kiwi Kannibal.
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