For too long water has been the silent utility. But no more! The American Water Works Association (AWWA) is launching a new water awareness event called Source Water Protection Week, and we say bring it on! From September 26 to October 2, we will be promoting Source Water Protection Week on our social media and beyond, and we encourage you to do the same.
It’s promotional days and weeks like these — Drinking Water Week (May 1-7, 2022), Imagine a Day Without Water (October 21, 2021), World Water Day (March 22, 2022), and now Source Water Protection Week — that rally the troops around promoting what we do, how we do it, and who we serve (hint, hint… everyone!). And what better way than through a blowout event and social engagement?
Through Source Water Protection Week, AWWA is calling upon the water community to “raise awareness about the importance of caring for our precious drinking water sources.” They’re even providing resources to promote the week and actionable steps for community members and businesses to take to protect local water resources. By protecting water at the source, utility leaders will find it cheaper and easier to deliver clean, safe drinking water.
If you’re skeptical about the need for another special water week to raise awareness, AWWA provides convincing data in their Communicating Source Water Protection Efforts in Consumer Confidence Reports Guidance Document. In a 2011 national study where a research company asked consumers if they knew “where the water they use in their homes” originates, the results were eye-opening. “The majority [of respondents] (54%) said they did not know the source of their water, while 23% gave the wrong answer, and the remaining (<23%) of respondents correctly identified their drinking water source.”
If consumers don’t even know where their water is coming from, how can we expect them to know how to care for it and help keep it clean? It’s time to really connect with our communities and clarify that water isn’t just everywhere and in everything, but that a well-functioning environment and water utility is critical to health, safety, and economic growth. Not only that, but we must communicate how they, as consumers and good citizens, can aid in protecting this precious resource. Let’s begin with Source Water Protection Week — and all the other special water days and weeks, for that matter — as an opportunity to engage our communities. It all starts with education. Why not mix it with a bit of fun?