BATON ROUGE, LA — June 13, 2018 — Today, Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome announced that Baton Rouge has been named the “Most Water Wise City” in the nation, which comes after a month-long competition during the month of April 2018 in which hundreds of thousands across the U.S. took pledges to conserve water over the course of the next year.
The 7th Annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation was administered by the Wyland Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to bringing communities together to become more solution-oriented stewards of our global marine resources. This year, Baton Rouge area residents committed to reduce their water use by 32.7 million gallons through 7,184 pledges, supporting Baton Rouge’s standing as one of the nation’s top cities with the highest percentage of residents making pledges during the month-long campaign.
“The challenge is a serious reminder to everyone about the importance of water to our cities and our country,” said marine-life artist Robert Wyland, who founded the Wyland Foundation in 1993. “This year we encouraged people to think about their consumption practices and see if they could find new ways to reduce pollution runoff and limit waste.”
In addition to the many adults in Baton Rouge who took the water conservation pledge, Mayor Broome specifically challenged students at schools across East Baton Rouge Parish to take the pledge as part of a competition among area schools focused on driving the greatest percentage possible of participating students. The winner of the inaugural Mayor’s Water Challenge, Southeast Middle School, was one of three schools that reached full participation among the schools’ student populations. In total, students at Southeast Middle School were responsible for making 736 student pledges and committing to conserving approximately 3.3 million gallons of water.
“I am thrilled to announce Southeast Middle School as the winner of my Mayor’s Water Challenge, which saw incredible levels of participation among students across East Baton Rouge Parish and served a critical role in Baton Rouge’s new standing as ‘most water wise’ in the nation,” said Mayor Broome. “It is truly a win-win any time we are able engage thousands of students on a topic as important as water conservation while also promoting Baton Rouge to a national audience, and I could not be prouder of the efforts of all our residents to create a stronger and more sustainable Baton Rouge for years to come.”
In honor of the work of Southeast Middle School’s students, the school will receive a $500 Amazon gift card to be used for science classroom materials and supplies, along with bragging rights for the next year as the most water-wise school in East Baton Rouge Parish. In total, participating students and schools in East Baton Rouge Parish pledged to conserve almost 12 million gallons of water, while learning valuable information about how to uphold their pledge both in the classroom and at home.
The Mayor’s Water Challenge was supported by the City-Parish Department of Environmental Services (DES) through the DES School Outreach Program. The focus of this program is to provide educational support and create meaningful connections with Baton Rouge-area students related to STEM concepts and other key topics involving services or functions overseen by the Department of Environmental Services such as the East Baton Rouge Parish wastewater system, garbage collection, recycling services, and environmental compliance. For more information, visit Environmental Services.