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EPA in Virginia

Making WaterSense in Charlottesville

Stories of Progress in Achieving Healthy Waters

U.S. EPA Region 3 Water Protection Division

Charlottesville, Virginia • August 18, 2016

From a 5K race to $100 toilet rebates to an “Imagine a Day without Water” campaign, the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, is a leader in working with EPA’s WaterSense program to promote water conservation and resource stewardship.

Charlottesville was named a 2015 EPA WaterSense Promotional Partner of the Year for its extensive lineup of outreach activities and promotions to help people save water, energy – and money. More than 1,700 utilities, manufacturers, retailers, builders and organizations partner with the WaterSense program, but only a select number are recognized for their significant program contributions.

Jill Greiner, the City’s Water Conservation Program Exit Coordinator, said WaterSense is the “backbone” of the city’s award-winning efforts. “With the help and guidance of the EPA WaterSense program, we have seen a gradual decline in the average single-family water consumption each year,” she said.

Among Charlottesville’s signature events is an annual Fix a Leak Family 5K race, where participants try to stop a “running toilet” and learn the importance of finding and fixing leaks. Top finishers receive a special toilet-shaped trophy and all participants get promotional materials, including dye tabs to check for leaks and information about the toilet rebates.

On the 10th anniversary of WaterSense earlier this year, Charlottesville tweeted, “Our #WaterSense $100 toilet rebate has been utilized over 5,900 times!” The City offers the rebate for replacing older inefficient toilets with a WaterSense-labeled toilet. It also has a $30 rebate for rain barrels.

Another key activity is the “Imagine a Day without Water” campaign that features a downtown event broadcast live on a local radio station reaching over 100,000 people along with an art contest challenging students in Grades 1-8 to depict a day without water, helping them to appreciate its value. The contest is co-sponsored with the Albemarle County Service Authority and the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority.

In addition to its strong presence at neighborhood activities and on social media, the City also sponsors a “Blue Team” of high school and middle school student volunteers who go door-to-door during the summer handing out water conservation kits and educational materials.

In its first decade, EPA’s WaterSense program has helped save more than 1.5 trillion gallons of water and $32.6 billion on utility bills. Families and businesses can choose from more than 16,000 available models of WaterSense-labeled products for bathrooms, commercial kitchens and irrigation systems that use at least 20 percent less water and are independently certified to perform as well or better than standard models.

A map of Virginia highlighting the location of Charlottesville

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  • Making WaterSense in Charlottesville (PDF)(1 pg, 721 K, 08/18/2016)
    From a 5K race to $100 toilet rebates to an “Imagine a Day without Water” campaign, the City of Charlottesville, Virginia, is a leader in working with EPA’s WaterSense program to promote water conservation and resource stewardship.