A recent survey, conducted by New Jersey Future and Jersey Water Works, in November of 2017 asked 1,175 New Jersey residents (in Jersey City and New Brunswick) about the importance of securing clean, safe drinking water to the residents and their knowledge of the water infrastructure in New Jersey. While more than 90% ranked providing clean water as “important” or a “top priority,” the survey results indicated that fewer than 10% are “very knowledgeable” about combined sewers, stormwater runoff, green infrastructure, and stormwater utilities.
While the survey will serve as a baseline of residents’ understanding and priorities, it can be used to highlight where water systems have the opportunity to increase public awareness. There are number of avenues which can be used to help water providers, both public and private, to increase the awareness of their customer base.
Beyond the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) published annually by water service providers, local Public Outreach Programs can be an effective tool for increasing public awareness of their local potable water system. Public Outreach Programs may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Teaming with local schools for age-appropriate education materials/instruction (a variety of options)
- Assisting scouts in obtaining environment-focused merit badges
- Education materials at spring “beach cleanup events”
- Free rain-barrels (and education on how to use them)
- Parent-teacher association events
- Town Halls with customer-base
GPM Associates, an Advanced GeoServices company, can assist your team in developing and implementing a public outreach program, based on our team’s experience helping other clients with public outreach and awareness. This support can include brainstorming program components, as well as implementing them. For more information, contact:
Veronica Foster, P.E.
Senior Project Consultant