On the heels of Southeast Colorado's extreme drought conditions, rampant wildfires, and news that Denver has the second-best tap water in the country, we thought we'd take the opportunity to commend Denver Water for its "Use Only What You Need" campaign. While most public utilities make ample use of mayors, city councilors, and other characters marginally more engaging than Mr. Rogers to make their point, Denver Water has chosen a different path -- and we're all the better for it.
Denver Water's conservation campaign began in the 1920s with a mailed advertisement to all citizens stating, "water is furnished for use and not for waste." Denver streetcars and signs followed suit in the 1930s with signs reading: "Water is Denver's greatest natural asset. Please don't waste it."
The current campaign -- which gave rise to the billboards, bus signage, and installations -- was launched in 2006 with a goal of 22% reduction in water use by the end of 2016. As of 2011, the campaign has reduced water use 20%. The campaign has cost an average of about $920,000 each year, for a total of $5.5 million over the past 6 years.
"We serve 1.3 million people in Denver and the surrounding suburbs, and believe we have identified media vehicles and nontraditional approaches that are cost-effective, far-reaching and yield lasting impact," said Stacy Chesney, a spokeswoman for Denver Water, told the HuffPost. "Our goal is to create a conservation culture where water is more highly utilized, where waste is frowned upon and where our citizens become ambassadors for water conservation."
Click through a slideshow of Denver Water's "Use Only What You Need" campaign below and vote for your favorites.
All photos courtesy of Denver Water: