Thanks to the Flint, Michigan water crisis, water utility managers across the country have been fielding questions from concerned customers and local media outlets about the safety of drinking water. Don’t fret! Your community water system should already be equipped with the information customers are seeking, thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act requirement to provide an annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to the public.
The CCR, frequently known as a Water Quality Report, summarizes the results of the previous year’s drinking water quality analyses, communicates information about a water supply system, and conveys health impacts of drinking water. Assuming your water system already made paper copies of the CCR available and/or posted a direct link to the entire report on the utility’s website as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it’s prudent to remind customers the information is always available.
Here are seven ways to make the most out of your utility’s Water Quality Report:
- Newsletter article: Use a monthly or quarterly newsletter to remind customers that they can access the utility’s CCR in its entirety online and be sure to provide the web address. To go one step further, provide a summary of the CCR’s findings for those who don’t want to read the entire report. Also make paper copies available, if requested.
- Website article: Even if the CCR is already posted on the utility’s website, a brief article that includes the original link to the report can be posted in a prominent place on the website’s home page.
- Utility bills: Print a brief thank you to customers for entrusting the utility with providing their drinking water and include a link to the CCR.
- Be available to the media: If contacted by a reporter, consider it an opportunity to promote the water system’s successes and explain the treatment techniques that ensure public safety. If asked about violations that appear on the CCR, explain what was done to rectify the situation.
- News release: Go directly to the media with information about local drinking water quality and include the link to the CCR report.
- Social media: Posting a link to the CCR on Twitter and Facebook is a simple and free way to remind your followers that a utility is being transparent about water safety.
- Infographics: Use infographics to illustrate your message. Infographics can be effective in so many places – website, newsletter, utility bills, news releases, and social media. Here’s an example of an infographic that AE2S Communications produced for the City of St. Cloud, MN.