For more than four decades, the first full week of May has been recognized as Drinking Water Week, providing an opportunity to acknowledge the critical role water plays in our lives.
The observance of Drinking Water Week was established by a joint congressional resolution signed in 1988 by then-president Ronald Reagan. It came about after the American Water Works Association (AWWA) formed a coalition, which included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the League of Women Voters, and the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, to call attention to the idea of a commemorative occasion focused on drinking water.
AWWA and its members — as well as the public at large — have embraced the annual celebration by hosting and participating in various activities that honor and celebrate the essential work that water utilities do to provide their communities with access to clean, safe drinking water. It’s a chance to educate and connect with the public, who often don’t realize what happens behind the scenes (or under the ground) before water gets to their taps.
To assist utilities with outreach, AWWA has compiled a comprehensive toolbox of downloadable materials utilities can use in their Drinking Water Week campaigns. It includes logos, social media posts and graphics, public service announcements, and press releases — many of which are available in both English and Spanish. It even provides activity sheets for children.
AWWA offers several excellent suggestions for ways water utilities can connect with communities during Drinking Water Week:
- Advertise in a local newspaper
- Send bill stuffers
- Publicize the release of your consumer confidence report
- Send public service announcements to local radio or television stations
- Organize a community event, such as an “Adopt-a-Hydrant” program or a tree-planting
- Connect with students by hosting a coloring or essay contest
Water utility staff work tirelessly to ensure their communities have reliable, uninterrupted access to drinking water. In fact, they do such a good job that many people simply have no idea what it takes to get water from its source to their taps. Drinking Water Week is an opportunity to change that.