Much of the public trusts that safe drinking water will come out of their taps every day. However, many do not understand the service that water utilities provide in delivering safe water to their communities. Numerous national and state campaigns have been developed to communicate the value of water to increase people’s awareness of the importance of this service. These campaigns cover a number of topics central to water utilities including the costs of replacing aging infrastructure, importance of building the water sector workforce, implications of water availability and/or water quality issues and promoting behavior change to help conserve water.
EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water hosted a series of five webinar discussions called “Tap Talks on Tuesdays” in summer 2014 to share how water systems have communicated the value, or importance, of drinking water services to their customers. Speakers included representatives from small, medium and large water systems, state and federal agencies and water sector organizations. The speakers described messaging methods and strategies they have used to effectively communicate the importance of water services to their community’s decision makers and general public.
Mary Tiger presented the EFC's research on identifying communication strategies and specific messages and tools that water systems could use to gain support during the rate approval process.