Water Quality Communication Strategies and Tools That Work

Fast, accurate, and frequent communication with customers is fundamental when effectively preparing for the management of water emergency events.



Under normal circumstances, the elaborate mechanisms that protect our water systems generally go unnoticed. In the middle of a water security crisis, however, such as the contamination of drinking water with a naturally occurring organism or a synthetic compound; intense public interest shifts back to infrastructure. Strategic communication during such emergencies will directly influence events. Poor communication efforts can fan emotions and undermine public trust at best; and at worst, incite high tensions, misinformation, and additional crises that need to be handled. Good communication practices can rally support, calm a nervous consumer, provide needed information, and encourage cooperative behaviors. Well-constructed, practiced, and delivered messages will inform the public, reduce misinformation, and provide a valuable foundation for informed decision making.


Why Water Systems Need to Engage in Strategic Communications

  • Customers who are better informed by their water system are less critical of the system, even in the event of a problem.

  • Relationships with partners and stakeholders are critical to an effective response to an emergency, but cannot be built during an emergency.

  • A contaminant issue or event, even one that doesn’t impact your community, creates public concern.

  • Customers and other stakeholders will be more likely to accept guidance and more likely to work in partnership with a utility if they feel well-informed and included.

  • Customers and other stakeholders will be more likely to accept guidance and more likely to work in partnership with a utility if they feel well-informed and included.


At Capital Strategic Solutions, we understand that effective strategic communication is a key responsibility of water utility officials and public information officers in times of crisis. The public, news media, policy-makers, and other stakeholders will expect timely and quality information from your organization given the situation. While the specifics of water security crises are difficult to predict, communication strategies for such events can be planned before a crisis occurs. Such planning greatly increases the likelihood that communication will further health and safety interests and contribute positively to reactive efforts.


Our team has experience coordinating with public safety officials to develop protocols and procedures for advising the public of the most appropriate and protective action that should be taken if warned. We are currently working the Plainville Department of Public Works, the Westminster Department of Public Works, and several other communities in the Commonwealth to provide public outreach services. If you are interested in learning more about what we do, please contact info@capital-strategic-solutions.com or call 508-690-0046. We look forward to working closely with you to create solutions that best suit your environment and your water customers.

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