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.
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.
- The Newark Water and Sewer Department developed new ways to engage with the public, including a new Neighborhood Outreach Program to address flooding, an employee highlight in its annual consumer confidence report, and a children’s activity book.
- The Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission used its consultants in conjunction with Blue Drop to develop a new logo and brand “Clean Waterways Healthy Neighborhoods” as well as fact sheets on CSO solutions: downspout disconnection, sewer separation and green infrastructure.
- Jersey City’s Office of Innovation used DC Water’s advice to refine their Year of Water marketing plan and create a marketing package for Earth Day (link). They used graphics from DC Water to develop a flyer explaining combined sewer systems and ways to address them.
- Report: View Unearthing Infrastructure: Communicating Water Infrastructure to New Jersey’s Communities and Stakeholders, the guide written to capture the key takeaways from a series of kick-off meetings and workshops held in Fall 2016.
Below you’ll find example publications from DC Water and “raw files” of illustrations that you can insert into your local outreach materials.
- Sample Environmental Education Curriculum
- Environmental Education & Outreach Plan
- Children’s Activity Book
- Marketing package for Earth Day
- Flyers explaining combined sewer systems, downspout disconnection, sewer separation and green infrastructure
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.
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.
Value of Water Coalition National Survey
The results of a new national poll conducted by the Value of Water Coalition found that Americans are deeply concerned about the state of the country’s water infrastructure, and most would be willing to pay more on their monthly water bill once they understood the need for investment. This PowerPoint shows detailed results from the poll as well as conclusions and recommendations from the researchers.