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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

OSU to issue 40-gallon water-use challenge

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State University will kick off its March 23-27 OSU Water Week activities by calling for students, staff, faculty and community, county and state residents to take part in the 40-gallon water-use challenge.

Garey Fox, director of the Oklahoma Water Resource Center, a part of the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, said many people are surprised to learn the average American uses 100 gallons of water each day.

“The 40-gallon challenge, as it is known nationally, encourages each of us to cut our daily water consumption by 40 gallons, and offers doable suggestions how to accomplish that goal,” he said.

Each participant applying the suggested conservation measures can potentially reduce their water use by more than a thousand gallons each month.

“It’s one of those instances where economics and environmental stewardship come together nicely,” Fox said. “Think of the savings to your water bill. Quality water shortages may be a global issue but it is one that depends greatly on implementing local solutions.”

The challenge started in 2011 as a nationwide call to reduce water use through the application of small and simple water management changes. Participants can choose from an assortment of indoor and outdoor changes.

“Indoor options are often designed to use a device more efficiently, while outdoor options are designed to use water when and where it provides the greatest benefit,” Fox said.

To join the 40-gallon challenge and set up a pledge card for your household, visit http://www.40gallonchallenge.org online, select your state and county, and choose the water conservation options that best suit your situation. The website also can be used to follow pledge activity at the county, state and national levels.

Saleh Taghvaeian, an OSU Cooperative Extension specialist in water resources and member of the OSU Water Week planning team, said thousands of Americans are pledging to turn off the water while brushing their teeth or washing dishes, not using the toilet as a wastebasket and only running full loads of laundry.

“Outdoor water conservation efforts usually result in particularly significant savings for household budgets,” he said. “At the high end, reducing irrigation runtime by two minutes could save approximately 80 gallons a day in an average urban landscape.”

Taghvaeian hopes individuals and groups will make the 40-gallon challenge a meaningful social media event.

“Take the challenge, find out what you can do and then challenge five friends,” he said. “It’s easy to challenge someone on Facebook from the 40-gallon challenge website, plus we will be doing the same on our OkStateWaterCenter Facebook page.”

Twitter also is a great place for people to share their participation in the challenge, call on others to participate and post photos of their water conservation practices.

“Use the Twitter hashtags #WaterIs and #okstate so everyone affiliated with OSU Water Week can follow along, and don’t forget to tag your tweet with @OkStateWater,” Taghvaeian said. “Think of the impact we can have.”

OSU Water Week is being sponsored by the Oklahoma Water Resources Center and the OSU Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Graduate Student Association. Additional information about OSU Water Week activities such as the 40-gallon challenge and water conservation practices is available by visiting http://water.okstate.edu online.

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Donald Stotts
Communications Specialist
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Oklahoma State University
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Phone: 405-744-4079
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Email: donald.stotts@okstate.edu   

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