In September, Apple Valley Ranchos Water Company (Ranchos) received the 2012/13 Exemplar Award, the highest honor for environmental stewardship and sustainability given by the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District (MDAQMD). The awards, presented in association with National Pollution Prevention Week, pay tribute to individuals and entities demonstrating a keen awareness of air quality by making outstanding contributions that prevent or reduce air pollution in High Desert communities.

Complementing its robust water conservation program, Ranchos earned the Exemplar Award for efforts that promote emissions reductions by implementing new technologies, consumer incentive programs and educational outreach.

In recent years, Ranchos installed remote monitoring equipment at 39 well sites, which eliminated two system operator trips each week, or more than 8,500 driving miles, resulting in reduced vehicle emissions and leading to cleaner, better air-quality.

Through the “Cash for Grass” program, Ranchos’ customers reduced outdoor water consumption as well as lawnmower emissions. In partnership with the MDAQMD, residents who remove their lawn and retire gas-powered mowers are eligible to receive rebates and a $50 gift card.

Ranchos also is focusing on water usage and pollution reduction in educational outreach efforts at schools and conservation fairs as well as participating in the Mojave Environmental Education Consortium.

“This award demonstrates we are headed in the right direction,” said Ranchos General Manager Scott Weldy. “Pumping less water reduces the use of energy to pump water, effectively reducing greenhouse gases.”

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