The city of Burbank will allow more than 300 of its public vehicles to gather dust and grime over the next 60 days as part of a broad new effort aimed at combating California’s devastating drought, now in its fourth year.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Burbank recently joined two other California cities, Santa Monica and Malibu, in the “Go Dirty for the Drought” awareness campaign, organized by the environmental outfit Los Angeles Waterkeeper. The campaign will see all three cities refuse to wash their fleet of public vehicles in an effort to raise drought awareness and cut back on wasteful water use.
“We really want to get the word out,” Burbank city spokesman Drew Sugars told the Times. “The primary message is to remind the public that we are in the worst drought in a century and it’s not just business as usual.”
According to the paper, those participating in the campaign log onto lawaterkeeper.org and pledge their commitment to not wash their car for 60 days. In return, the campaign sends drivers a big blue sticker that reads, “Go Dirty for the Drought,” which they can then put on their windshield or bumper to help raise awareness of the campaign.
Los Angeles Waterkeeper spokeswoman Rachel Stich told the Times that the campaign’s goal is to have 10,000 drivers make the pledge, which, she estimates, would equal three million gallons of water saved. 6,000 drivers have already signed up in the campaign’s first seven weeks.
“Local and state agencies should be at the forefront of making more water-conscious decisions and educating the public about the drought,” L.A. Waterkeeper executive director Liz Crosson said in a statement.
“We just want to get people thinking about [conserving water] and it seemed like a car was a good way to do it,” Stich told the paper. “There’s other ways to do it – it doesn’t have to be your car.”
According to the report, Burbank has already requested 350 stickers for its fleet of public vehicles, although some critical vehicles, like fire engines, will likely still be washed.
City spokesman Drew Sugars told the Times that it is not yet clear whether the city will extend the pledge beyond the initial 60-day period; he said that would depend on whether or not it rains in California this winter.