Drinking Water Risk Communication Toolkit: Telling Your Story-Connect with People

Drinking Water Risk Communication Toolkit
Tell Your Story - Connect with People

To tell your story, you must choose strategies that work best for your community, with a timeline that makes sense for the message you are trying to share. Telling your story well means that everyone who needs the information gets the information. Remember that Have a Plan and Make Your Message come before you can tell your story.

Tools for Telling Your Story

Working With Media

List of Communication Tools

  • Before you make your message, consider the people you are trying to reach
  • Pick a communication tool that will reach the most people
  • When a face-to-face communication tool is considered, think about who the best person is to deliver your message

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Best Use: Information that needs to be available on an ongoing basis - Regular communications, information to inform decisions or actions of community

Content: Information about system operations, education and outreach about drinking water quality and quantity, information about budgets, access to services


  • Consumer Confidence Report
  • City/utility newsletter (monthly, quarterly, or annually; include periodic water features)
  • Local newspaper
  • Brochures in public spaces (e.g. library, city office)
  • Posters

    Best Use: As needed for specific issues - Education and outreach efforts; Information to inform decisions or actions of community

    Content: Information about issue; Activities to mitigate or manage issue; Timelines and contacts


  • Direct mailings and bill stuffers
  • Local newspaper

Best Use: When information is needed in timely manner -High level updates; information that needs to reach customers

Content: Priority information for customers; emergency or issue information that requires timely dissemination of information; Requests for participation or action


  • Community email list
  • Emergency text service
  • Call Messaging or Robo Calls

Best Use: Available 24/7; Updated regularly - General information for customers; time sensitive information; Resource information

Content: Program information; frequently asked questions; contaminant information; drinking water general information; time-sensitive information; contact information

Best Use: As needed for issues; update regularly with general information - For quick things, time-sensitive notices, fun things, engagement (questions/comments)

Content: Announcements of regular maintenance activities; emergency information (supplement to other channels); Success stories; General information and education.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Blog

Best Use: As needed for issues or regularly for education and outreach - On-going communications or issues specific communications

Content: Focused information on specific topics; notification of issues; announcements; success stories


  • Local TV (record meetings and play)
  • Video
  • YouTube

Best Use: For special events (e.g. Drinking Water Week) or on an ongoing basis - Education and outreach to improve knowledge of drinking water program

Content: Basic information about drinking water systems, drinking water quality and quantity


  • Tours of system for customers
  • Water tours for schools
  • Environmental education exhibits and displays

Best Use: Community engagement means that people are involved in decision-making processes. Outreach and education efforts are steps towards community engagement. Use as needed for issues or regularly to provide updates.

Content: Program information; contaminant information; drinking water general information; time-sensitive information; contact information


  • Town halls and open houses
  • Attend meetings and events (e.g. city council meetings, community events, home shows)
  • Presentations in the community (e.g. Rotary, neighborhood meetings)
  • Knock on doors (one system has asked Boy Scouts to do this)
Updated Wednesday, 20-Mar-2019 12:24:35 CDT