Laguna Beach looks to regain “Most Water Wise City” title this year during annual April challenge

Mayor Bob Whalen is rallying residents to take part in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation in hopes of regaining the city’s “Most Water Wise City” title that was surrendered to Gallup, New Mexico last year. “It’s a matter of civic pride,” stated Whalen. “Despite a valiant effort, Laguna Beach took third place in its population category last year. It’s time to take back the title.”

The annual challenge, which runs from April 1- 30, is a nonprofit national community service campaign that encourages leaders to inspire their residents to make a series of simple pledges at to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution, and save energy. In return, residents can win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Payments, water saving fixtures, and hundreds of other prizes. Plus, one lucky charity will receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to serve the community.

Laguna Beach rain

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

2018 LB County Water District Smartscape Expo

 “For the first time in eight years, California is drought free. Although water restrictions are no longer in place, all Californians must continue to work together to use water wisely,” stated Whalen. “In our drought-prone state, the next dry period could be right around the corner. Laguna Beach proudly supports the Wyland Mayor’s Challenge and its mission to raise awareness of our most precious resource, water.”

Last year, residents from over 3,800 cities in all 50 US states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by three billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 79.9 million pounds, and prevent more than 177,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds. The Challenge goes beyond recent drought issues and looks at the ways our water use will affect the future of our communities – from how we grow food to reducing polluted runoff. 

Laguna Beach Mayor Whalen

Submitted photo

Mayor Whalen is Laguna to band together to regain our “Most Water Wise City” title

While Californians have seen record rainfall this past winter, Laguna Beach residents remain committed to saving water. Due to the state’s history of drought, water conservation has become part of the Laguna lifestyle. 

“Our residents understand that they must continue to save water during periods of heavy rain to get us through the dry periods that are inevitable in California,” stated Renae Hinchey, general manager of the Laguna Beach County Water District. “This ongoing effort is important for long-term water reliability.” 

To participate, residents should go to and then make a series of online pledges to conserve water on behalf of Laguna Beach. Cities compete in the following population categories: 5,000 - 29,999 residents, 30,000 - 99,999 residents, 100,000 - 299,999 residents, 300,000 - 599,999 residents, and 600,000+ residents. 

Participants earn a chance to win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Bills, and hundreds more eco-friendly prizes including Toro Irrigation Smart Controllers, ECOS home cleaning products, and home water fixture retrofits from EcoSystems Inc. In addition, residents can nominate a deserving charity from their city to receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Students and teachers are encouraged to take part, as well.

Laguna Beach tent

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Annual Smartscape Expo – Residents learn ways to conserve water

The 8th National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S EPA WaterSense, The Toro Company, National League of Cities, Conserva Irrigation, EcoSystems Inc., and Earth Friendly Products (makers of ECOS).

Laguna Beach County Water District provides water service to 22,000 residents within an 8.5 square mile area of Laguna Beach. The District’s mission is to furnish a high quality, reliable water supply in a financially responsible manner, while promoting water-use efficiency. 

The Wyland Foundation was founded in 1993 by environmental artist Wyland (best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals) as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways, and marine life. The foundation encourages environmental awareness through community events, education programs, and public art projects.