Drinking Water Risk Communication Toolkit
We talked to systems – large and small – throughout Minnesota. This toolkit contains the strategies and tools that work for them. Please share your communications successes with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will consider adding your examples and stories to the toolkit so that other public water systems can learn from you.
Thank you to the public water systems that contributed their time and expertise to this toolkit: Bemidji, Eden Prairie, Foley, Minneapolis, New Brighton, and Rochester.
Why Water Systems Should Engage in Risk Communication
- A contaminant issue or event, even one that doesn’t impact your community, creates public concern.
- Customers who are better informed by their water system are less critical of the system, even in the event of a problem.
- Relationships with partners and stakeholders are critical to an effective response to an emergency, but cannot be built during an emergency.
- Customers and other stakeholders will be more likely to accept guidance and more likely to work in partnership with a utility if they feel well-informed and included.
Read more About Risk Communication.
MDH Role in Drinking Water Risk Communication
- The MDH mission is to protect, maintain, and improve the health of all Minnesotans. This includes partnering with drinking water systems to provide safe drinking water.
- MDH works to be as transparent as possible in the sharing and dissemination of information related to safe drinking water.
- MDH works with systems when there are communication challenges or system issues.
Water System Role in Drinking Water Risk Communication
- Provide drinking water services to customers while meeting legal and regulatory responsibilities.
- Communicate about these services, including monitoring activities, water quality and quantity, and health concerns.
- Maintain primary responsibility for communicating with customers and stakeholders. Partner with others when needed.
Communication Strategies and Tools That Work
Successful communication efforts can be broken down into three simple steps: planning, making your message, and telling your story. Each of these steps is scalable—whether you have the time and resources to do a little or a do a lot, you can still communicate effectively with consumers. On the pages below, you will find strategies and tools to help with each step.
Communication for Every Situation
Read about different communication types and find the strategies that best fit for your system and the issue at hand.
- Education and awareness about water systems, drinking water, all the good work done to protect drinking water
- Inform and help the community understand how to prevent or address a risk that is new or not well-known