The recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill will provide the EPA with more than $50 billion for improving the nation’s water systems.
It is said that this bill represents the “single largest investment” the federal government has ever made in water infrastructure, and it comes at a time when the country’s water systems are breaking down in many areas, and the need for replacing lead service lines is clear.
According to the EPA, there are 150,110 operational public water systems in the United States. Communities rely on these vital systems to provide safe, reliable drinking water to each of their residents, businesses and visitors; however, many of these systems face challenges including aging infrastructure, limited resources, operational and maintenance system failures. In some cases, these challenges can lead to the contamination of a public drinking supply.
Distressed communities across the country are clamoring for federal money to help upgrade aging systems. Massachusetts will receive approximately $9 billion over the next five years through the infrastructure bill with $1.1 billion designated just for water infrastructure alone.
Advocating to Your Customers About the Necessity of Improving Water Infrastructure
When a public drinking water source has been infiltrated by a contaminant, it is the responsibility of the water provider to give timely and accurate information both internally and externally to the public. Upon confirmation of a water quality issue, the appropriate notification must be issued such as a,“boil water, do not drink or consume” order. If carefully designed, a communications plan can save precious time when an emergency occurs and helps enable leaders and spokespersons to focus on particulars of the emergency at hand and the quality, accuracy, and speed of their responses.
The quality of outgoing communications during a contamination event will directly influence a community’s action or lack of action. Insufficient or poor communications can heighten emotions and undermine trust. By communicating clearly and concisely, water providers can rally support, calm constituents, and provide the information needed for their customers to make solid decisions that may affect their health.
At Capital Strategic Solutions (CSS), we understand that there are a variety of ways to inform the public about environmental problems that affect water quality, and such communication has the potential to improve the environmental literacy of the public and to increase support for regulations that address these types of issues. Central to that effort is our commitment to work collaboratively with our clients, their respective dedicated utilities, and various stakeholders to elevate clean water, clean water services, and the infrastructure that supports it as essential to keeping their communities safe and thriving. We understand that varying degrees of resources and dedicated public information staff can make it difficult to engage with consumers and target audiences, so we are here to assist in your efforts to communicate about the value and importance of water.
Our team is working with a number of communities that have exceeded the maximum contamination level for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), total trihalomethanes (TTHM), haloacetic acids (HAA), as well as other impacts to water quality. We are assisting these communities in conveying simplified messaging to allow stakeholders to understand the risks and the potential hazards. We engage in open dialogue with residents that allows them to have a better understanding of the level of exposure, and what is being done to protect public health and safety. Through these conversations, community members walk away with the information they need to make informed decisions, not only for their health but for the health of their families and their neighbors too.
About Capital Strategic Solutions
CSS is a Massachusetts-based, woman-owned business (WBE) that is composed of former municipal employees. Since 2014, CSS has been partnering with communities and consultants throughout New England to enhance community engagement by building trust through transparency. Our team is committed to providing equitable resources to communities to maintain and increase community services that benefit residents, businesses, and visitors of each client’s community.
We deliver creative and cost-effective services that maximize success while minimizing risk for our clients. Our team specializes in community engagement, grant writing & management, impact mitigation & crisis communication, project management & oversight, solutions for data management, website design services, tactical social media outreach, and virtual and in-person event planning. We work diligently with our clients to define clear project goals while resolving complex challenges.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-690-0046.