Working Together To Spread the Value of Water Message in North Carolina

September 25, 2013

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Photo courtesy of North Carolina American Water Works Association and Water Environment Association (NC AWWA–WEA; Raleigh), North Carolina Rural Water Association (Lexington), and the North Carolina Waterworks Operators Association (Emerald Isle).

Photo courtesy of North Carolina American Water Works Association and Water Environment Association (NC AWWA–WEA; Raleigh), North Carolina Rural Water Association (Lexington), and the North Carolina Waterworks Operators Association (Emerald Isle).

Educating about the value of water always has been part of the mission of the North Carolina American Water Works Association and Water Environment Association (Raleigh; NC AWWA–WEA). But to consolidate resources while expanding the message’s reach, NC AWWA–WEA joined the North Carolina Rural Water Association (Lexington), and the North Carolina Waterworks Operators Association (Emerald Isle) to develop the public education program My Water Matters.

“We are seeking greater awareness by the public of the important role that water professionals play in ensuring seamless and reliable delivery of clean water to homes, businesses, and industry and the safe treatment of wastewater,” said Lindsay Roberts, executive director of NC AWWA–WEA. “Water and wastewater infrastructure are vital to the health, quality of life, and economic viability of our communities, our state, and our nation. We want the public to recognize the value of that infrastructure.”

The joint program enables the organizations to combine resources and staff talents to create a single consistent message, which is more likely to be recognized and absorbed by the public than different messages on the same topic, Roberts explained. Now, each organization promotes the program through its publications and websites, as well as any presentations at various venues.

Photo courtesy of NC AWWA–WEA, North Carolina Rural Water Association, and the North Carolina Waterworks Operators Association.

Photo courtesy of NC AWWA–WEA, North Carolina Rural Water Association, and the North Carolina Waterworks Operators Association.

Currently, the program includes a website and two versions of a public service announcement (PSA). The website educates about the value and cost of water, careers in the water industry, information about individuals and companies recognized in the industry, and resources for more information. The PSA provides information about the work behind cleaning water and the many uses for clean water. Volunteers from each organization worked to develop concepts and a storyboard for the PSA and contracted a local company to create it, Roberts said.

The website and video are just the beginning for this program, which is in its first year. the organizations have plans to expand the program to include educational tools for teachers. They also have formed a task force to evaluate the current state of backflow prevention certification in North Carolina and determine if the public outreach program can do anything to help with the issue, Roberts said. “We think that through this unique collaboration of the three organizations, we may be able to develop a single program that would make it easier to protect public health,” Roberts said.

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

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