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Engaged Communities

Upgrading the water systems in New Jersey’s cities and towns is a generational challenge that must serve the residents and businesses who pay the bills, and the elected officials responsible for addressing a host of community issues.

Effective community engagement processes feature active the participation of community partners and ratepayers, who are able to influence the planning and management of their water infrastructure. Community support is also reflected in municipal plans, ordinances.

Resources

Complementary or in Conflict? Community Organizing and Collective Impact

Marshall Ganz of Harvard Kennedy School delivered the keynote address at the 2017 Collective Impact Convening in Boston. Ganz spoke about organizing and highlighted the important of relationships and narrative.

Opportunities for Municipal Clean Water Utilities to Advance Environmental Justice & Community Service

The National Association of Clean Water Agencies prepared this report to increase awareness of the many benefits America’s clean water utilities provide to their communities. The projects in this compendium represent efforts by NACWA members to reach beyond the traditional model of simply conveying and treating wastewater and stormwater, to become assets and partners in their communities. Some of the projects included in this compendium represent work to address specific environmental justice issues, while others are examples of efforts by clean water utilities to better serve their communities as a whole.

Opportunities for Municipal Clean Water Utilities to Advance Environmental Justice & Community Service (National Association of Clean Water Agencies)

DC Water Materials — Connecting with Stakeholders on Water Infrastructure

In Fall 2016, experts from DC Water’s consulting arm,  Blue Drop, conducted five workshops for New Jersey’s cities and utilities on how to successfully make the case for water infrastructure investment that were co-presented by Jersey Water Works the NJ Urban Mayors Association and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.

The DC Water representatives shared key communications strategies and techniques they used to build public support for Clean Rivers, including branding and visual identity, ways to celebrate success, effective public meetings and the use of social media. Leading the workshops was Alan Heyman, chief marketing officer at DC Water; John Lisle, chief of external affairs; Ted Coyle, a multimedia specialist at the authority; and Emanuel Briggs, DC Water’s community outreach manager.

The workshops included:

  • Three local kick-off meetings hosted by Mayor Christian Bollwage of Elizabeth, Mayor John Labrosse of Hackensack and Mayor Eric Jackson of Trenton.
  • A full-day workshop, tailored specifically for officials and employees of cities and utilities with combined-sewer systems.
  • A two-hour overview workshop, tailored to community groups and nonprofit organizations.

“Participation and investment begin with public awareness.” – Hackensack Mayor John P. Labrosse Jr.

After a competitive application process, one-on-one consulting was provided to the City of  Newark, the City of Jersey City and the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission.

Resources:

Customizable Resources:

Below you’ll find example publications from DC Water and “raw files” of illustrations that you can insert into your local outreach materials.

Materials:

Graphics:

Customized Jersey Water Works Graphics – Imagine a Day Without Water

We’re inviting you to join us on social media for Imagine a Day Without Water on Sept. 15. Share these graphics and hashtags to amplify the importance of investing in robust water infrastructure.

Facebook:

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Twitter:

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Value of Water Communications Webinar

This US Water Alliance webinar discusses the challenges associated with communicating the value of water and the importance of water infrastructure systems to community stakeholders and public officials. Communications Director Abigail Gardner explains how a comprehensive communications strategy is necessary in order to win support for new water projects and rate proposals and provides best practices for developing a strategic communications plan.

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