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A cost-saving campaign to save water.

"It Pays to Save Water" is Mountain View, Calif.'s new water conservation slogan, and it conveys a clear reminder to rate payers that if they use less water, their bills will be lower. The slogan has meaning for water conservation employees as well. It is the rallying call behind a cost-effective water conservation campaign that has brought in thousands of dollars in support and in-kind services from outside agencies and nonmunicipal sources. During the first quarter of this fiscal year, Mountain View achieved a 33 percent water savings. How did the city do it? By building partnerships with outside agencies.

First, the city water utility and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) collaborated on an energy and water audit program targeted at high residential water users. Auditors installed low-flow showerheads (paid for by PG&E) and toilet tank water displacement bags (paid for by a city water supplier, the Santa Clara Valley Water District).

Local high-tech giant Sun Microsystems underwrote the cost of 5,000 water conservation kits that Mountain View distributed to residents. Sun also paid for and gave another 3,000 kits to its own employees, and the water district donated an additional 15,000 kits to the city.

Energy Components, a private company, worked with a PG&E rebate program to deliver more than 9,000 free showerheads, toilet displacement bags, and conservation literature to Mountain View residents.

The local media helped in the campaign as well. The community's monthly newspaper, "The View," got the water conservation message out to citizens by donating one free page, an $800 value, in each issue.

The water conservation program received a gift of award-winning, original promotional posters from Jordan/Yama Advertising. A local winning entry from a children's art contest yielded another colorful poster for publicizing water conservation. Posters were displayed in local businesses, reprinted in "The View," and distributed as utility bill inserts.

Mountain View and the city of Palo Alto co-sponsored a water conservation seminar for hospitals--the first of its kind in California. The seminar prompted one of Mountain View's largest water users, El Camino Hospital, to employ a consultant to audit water use at the hospital.

Finally, the city used a variety of other techniques to get the message on water conservation out to citizens. These included putting up display booths a local fairs, distributing water conservation door hangers, and planting a model xeriscape garden.


Mountain View's water conservation program has saved more with less! By building partnerships with other utilities, city departments, and private businesses, and through the extensive use of student interns and volunteers for staffing, the city's water conservation effort has exceeded its water saving goal. The cost-effective strategies will contribute to permanent future water savings for the city of Mountain View.

For more information, contact Lisa Dondick, Water Conservation Coordinator, Utilities Department, 231 N. Whisman, Mountain View, Calif. 94043; (415) 903-6329.
COPYRIGHT 1991 National League of Cities
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:City Ideas That Work; Mountain View, California
Author:Spencer, Carol Brown; Dondick, Lisa
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 23, 1991
Previous Article:President's Awards to Hudnut and Rousakis.
Next Article:New federal transportation act means more funding, flexibility for cities.

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