The online RCAP Resources Library has a variety of resources that are useful to small, rural drinking water and wastewater systems.

Mark Drinking Water Week in May

Drinking Water Week is May 6 to 12. This annual event has been sponsored by the American Water Works Association, a close partner of RCAP, for more than 30 years.

Marketing isn’t just for businesses

The week (or any other time) is a good opportunity for your utility to talk about the value of clean, safe water with your customers and with others in your community, such as businesses, schools and industries. Don’t feel the need to be humble or that you shouldn’t bring attention to yourself. You may be a nonprofit entity, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do some of your own kind of “marketing.” Businesses do marketing and advertising to make more sales and make money, but there are ways you can benefit from highlighting your utility’s service.

Treating and distributing drinking water is a service that often happens in the background of our lives. It’s something most of us take for granted. A time like Drinking Water Week is a chance to bring it to the foreground and for everybody to remember their gratitude for this modern convenience that also is vital to our survival and health. Doing some promotion will not only provide some education about the service you provide, especially to those who use it multiple times a day, but you will reap some benefits too. When your community has a greater appreciation of the service, operators and boards get more respect, and consumers are more open to decisions their water suppliers must make to continue protecting public health. If customers and other parts of your community see how valuable your provision of water is to the public’s health and the economy of your community, they will be more understanding when it comes time for you to raise rates, do construction work, perform maintenance, or make other improvements. Raising awareness about this essential community service can “buy” you some goodwill with customers and the community.

What can you do?

Promote the work your system does in providing water for drinking, cooking, showering, washing, cleaning and recreation, as well as for manufacturing and other industries. Tell the members of your community what goes into producing potable water and remind them that you supply it reliably 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 356 days a year. Talk about the natural, chemical, energy and human inputs that go into the process of treating drinking water.

There are a variety of places you can do this:

  • in a bill insert
  • on your website or Facebook page
  • in your newsletter
  • in a newspaper ad or radio public service announcement
  • in your utility’s Consumer Confidence Report (read more about them)
  • on/through your infrastructure: One utility in Georgia installed plaques on items like fire hydrants to explain their purposes. You could also open your plant up for tours and give people free “samples” of the product you produce at the end – good, clean water (although they get it all the time at home).

Where to get content

AWWA and RCAP have some resources to help you share with others about drinking water:

As AWWA says on its webpage for Drinking Water Week, it is a time to “recognize the vital role water plays in our daily lives,” a time for “celebrating the essential by celebrating water.”


Other announcements in this issue of A Drop of Knowledge:

 

eBulletin has a new name

This newsletter, which to this point has been called the eBulletin, will now be named A Drop of Knowledge. This name reflects its purpose, which has been refocused this year. That purpose is providing:

  • useful, practical information – knowledge that you can put into action in your water or wastewater system or community
  • a small amount of new knowledge – just enough to make a difference without requiring you to embark on large improvements that may be overwhelming

The new name is borrowed from a set of two publications that RCAP produced last year. These two guides, titled A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems and A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-operator’s Guide to Wastewater Systems, are additional resources from RCAP that may be helpful to you. You might find these guides especially useful if you are a member of the governing body that is responsible for the oversight of your system but don’t know much about how the operator keeps it running. Follow the links to get the guides online, or ask your local RCAP Technical Assistance Provider for a hard copy.

It is with this intention that RCAP provides all of its resources for small communities – to help all of the various individuals and groups involved in a water system – operators, managers, board members, bookkeepers and others – run a system in an efficient, sustainable way.

There is another service we offer – Ask the Expert. You may send in your question that stumps you or query about how to go about a procedure or process and have it answered by an RCAP expert in the field. Your question may even be a topic of a future issue of this newsletter.

With Ask the Expert, with this newsletter, with our publications, with our website, and with our in-person, customized assistance through local Technical Assistance Providers, RCAP provides many ways of assisting you.