Bremerton may need some help to get back on top in the National Mayor’s Water Pledge Challenge, an annual competition that encourages people to take specific steps to save water and help the environment.
As usual, Bremerton started out on top in its population category when the contest began on April 1. The city held its own through most of last week. But now the city has slid down to number 4, which means that more water customers are needed to take the pledge. Go to My Water Pledge.
Bremerton has always done well in the competition, perhaps largely because of the enthusiasm of Mayor Patty Lent, who likes to see people conserve water and always wishes the city can come out on top in the competition. This year, a good showing in the competition would be especially nice, considering that Bremerton is celebrating the centennial of its unique water system.
“One hundred years into its operation, we celebrate the foresight of water professionals who built a drinking water system anchored by Casad Dam and delivered by a complex network of pipes, pump stations and reservoirs to serve a growing city through the war years and beyond,” Mayor Lent said in a news release.
“Continued conscientious operation, maintenance, and watershed protection ensure excellent quality at the tap,” she said. “We are inspired by the past to be responsible water system stewards and we look forward to the next century of service to our customers.”
An exhibit of the city’s water history opened Friday and will remain open through September at Kitsap Historical Museum, 280 Fourth Street in downtown Bremerton.
A brief written history of the water system can be found on the city’s website. On this page, I’ve also posted a video produced for the Kitsap County Historical Society and Museum. It features historical photos of water infrastructure in Kitsap County going back to the early settlement period.
As for the National Mayor’s Water Pledge Challenge, Mayor Lent encourages participation by reminding everyone she knows to sign the pledge. She hands out cards to people she meets and discusses the contest standings in her regular reports to the City Council.
“Water is Bremerton’s remarkable resource,” she said in a news release. “This challenge, which runs through April, is an exciting opportunity to learn about water wise habits as we engage in a friendly competition with other cities across the nation to create a more sustainable environment.”
Kathleen Cahall, water resources manager for the city, said outreach efforts for the challenge include displays, flyers and car magnets plus appeals on social media. Water customers who do not have online access can fill out a paper form at the utility’s billing office on Oyster Bay Avenue, at Norm Dicks Government Center or at Kitsap County Historical Museum.
The contest, sponsored by the Wyland Foundation, is based on the percentage of people in a city or town who take the pledge in a given year. Prizes are awarded to some residents of the winning city in each population group.
When the contest began in 2012, Bremerton came in third place. But the following two years, 2013 and 2014, the city claimed the top spot before slipping to number 3 again in 2015. Last year, Bremerton came in second. Since the contest began, Bremerton has ranked ahead of all other cities in Washington state.
As of today, Bremerton ranks fourth in the 30,000-100,000 population category followed by Olympia, which is ranked seventh. Seattle ranks sixth and Tacoma 84th among cities with populations over 600,000. Port Townsend was ranked 42nd in its category.
Most of the cities in Washington state seem to be losing ground at this point. I hope that can be turned around. To see the standings, go to Nationwide Results.