Drinking Water Risk Communication Toolkit FYI Communications

Drinking Water Risk Communication Toolkit
Everyday Communications

  • Education and awareness about water: water as a shared resource, water systems information, drinking water basics, all the good work done to protect drinking water
  • Communication strategies that can be implemented over time
  • Examples: Communicating about source water protection, your treatment process, or water conservation

Strategies and Tools

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Develop a communication plan

Taking time to plan ensures that your communications are accurate, timely, and get to the people who need them.

  • Purpose and objectives of communications efforts
  • Description of specific strategies/activities, who you are communicating to, and who is doing the communications
  • Evaluation – how will you know if you are successful?
  • Schedule/Calendar
  • Resources
    • Past communications that worked well
    • Trusted partner contacts
    • Communication tools available for your system
  • See Have a Plan for tips on making a communications plan to fit your needs.

Develop communications materials for customers and share your messages

Develop consistent messages for your system staff about information that is regularly shared

  • Develop and share an internal FAQ/talking points document
  • Use Dropbox or a shared drive to store resources for staff
  • Identify one point person for media inquiries

Find quality resources

  • Know where to find information before an issue or emergency occurs
  • Find resources that are up to date
    • Research online: use MDH, EPA, MRWA, and AWWA websites and information sheets
    • Call MDH employees (start with your District Engineer)
    • Call MN Rural Water Association or MN AWWA
    • Use AWWA press releases
    • Consult associations; ask industry contacts for advice and resources
      • Borrow and adapt materials from other systems

Build partnerships

  • Develop a list of partners in your area to contact
  • Build a network of trusted partners who can help when needed
  • Share and jointly develop needed resources
  • Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
  • Minnesota City Management Association
  • League of Minnesota Cities
  • Water Utilities Commission
  • Minnesota chapter of American Water Works Association
  • City Engineers Association of Minnesota
  • Minnesota Public Works Association
  • Minnesota Rural Water Association
  • Minnesota Wastewater Operators Association
  • Metropolitan Area Management Association
  • Central Minnesota Water Education Alliance

Attend regular meetings, trainings, and conferences to learn more about resources and support available.

Network with other water professionals.

Provide education and outreach about how drinking water is provided 

  • Tell people about the good work that is happening every day
  • Teach people about how your drinking water system works
  • Notify people about regular monitoring events, including sampling and results

Check out the MDH Invisible Heroes Videos about Minnesota Drinking Water Providers

Examples of FYI education and outreach communications:

  • Local TV (record open houses or city council meetings and play) or YouTube
  • Attend meetings and events (e.g. city council meetings, community events, home shows)
  • Tours of system for customers
  • Water tours for schools or summer camps
  • Presentations in the community (e.g. Rotary, neighborhood meetings)
  • Town halls and open houses
  • Environmental education exhibits and displays
  • Participating in educational campaigns like Drinking Water Week

Educate customers about what is in drinking water

  • Local drinking water chemistry
  • The benefits of fluoride in drinking water
  • Contaminants of emerging concern

Examples of FYI education and outreach communications about what is in drinking water:

  • Local TV (record meetings and play)
  • Attend meetings and events (e.g. city council meetings, community events, home shows)
  • Tours of system for customers
  • Water tours for schools or summer camps
  • Presentations in the community (e.g. Rotary, neighborhood meetings)
  • Town halls and open houses
  • Environmental education exhibits and displays

Educate customers about source water

  • Quantity and quality of water
  • Water conservation efforts
  • Source water protection

Examples of FYI education about source water:

  • Local TV (record meetings and play)
  • Attend meetings and events (e.g. city council meetings, community events, home shows)
  • Tours of system for customers
  • Water tours for schools or summer camps
  • Presentations in the community (e.g. Rotary, neighborhood meetings)
  • Town halls and open houses
  • Environmental education exhibits and displays
Updated Wednesday, 20-Mar-2019 12:05:45 CDT