Imagine A Day Without Water is a national education campaign to engage public and key stakeholders about how water is essential, invaluable, and needs investment. It will take place October 6-8, 2015, and includes events, resolutions, social media engagement and more across the country.
The Value of Water Coalition, which is convening Imagine A Day Without Water has developed this message deck to provide guidance for communicating about the value of water. Our approach to messaging is that it should be simple, flexible, and effective. This message framework follows a logical flow. First, we start with our overarching message: Water is essential. Then we outline the problem that water faces, the solution that we need, and the future that we want to secure. Feel free to use only the message points that work best for your organization. This is designed to be flexible so it can meet the needs of water providers and stakeholders in different communities.
Water is Essential
Core Message: Water is essential.
Our overarching message is that water is essential. Everything we talk about builds from that foundation. We then set up a logical flow to persuade the audience that our essential resource is at risk, we need to invest in water, and if we do so communities will thrive.
• Water is essential for everything we do in life.
• We need water to make a cup of coffee, fight fires, build bridges, and swim on a summer day. We need water to grow strawberries, manufacture blue jeans, and make life-saving medicines.
• From agriculture to manufacturing, most sectors of our economy rely on water. Without water, our economy would grind to a halt.
• While nature provides water, it takes pipes, pumps, equipment, and people working 24/7 to deliver clean water to homes and businesses, and then remove and treat wastewater so it can safely be reused or returned to the environment.
• Water infrastructure is largely invisible. Because it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind for most people.
The Problem: Water infrastructure and resources are at risk and this puts the nation at risk.
• After working around the clock for 100 years or more, water and wastewater infrastructure is aging and failing.
• These systems were built in the early 20th century for communities that looked completely different than today.
• We also face serious water resource challenges including epic drought in the Western states; water and sewer breaks in East Coast and Midwestern communities; and, climate change and rising sea levels, which contribute to flooding and additional stress on water systems.
• With a growing national population and finite water supplies, we have long-term water supply challenges that must be addressed with new and creative strategies that meet current and future needs.
The Solution: Investment in water must be a top priority.
1) Invest Locally
• We need water and wastewater bills that better reflect what it costs to deliver these essential services and to invest in the infrastructure so it’s in a state of good repair.
• Water and wastewater services are incredibly affordable compared to other utilities. The truth is if your cable goes out it’s a nuisance, but if your water is out, it is a crisis.
2) A Stronger Federal Partner
• When the federal government sets infrastructure policy or makes infrastructure investments, water must be front and center.
• We need a stronger federal partner that expands access to low-cost capital for all water providers and encourages collaboration between the public and private sectors.
3) New Water Resource Strategies
• While, conservation is critical, we also need innovative water management strategies to respond to the unprecedented water challenges facing communities all across the country. Investments can support a wide range of innovations including resource recovery, reuse, and diversification of local water supplies.
4) Public-Private Partnerships
• Water projects can be expensive and no one sector alone can meet the need for investment. Public-private partnerships are essential to meet our financing and water management needs.
The Potential For Our Future: Ensure clean, safe water so all communities can thrive.
• Water providers are economic anchors, frontline environmental stewards, good community partners and innovators.
• We chart a prosperous and sustainable future if we invest in water infrastructure and water resources.
• Water drives economic growth and competitiveness. Water protects public health, Water revitalizes neighborhoods and supports community vitality. Water sustains our environment and makes us more resilient in the face of climate change. Water is life.