21 Jan Innovation is Flowing Through Water Practice
Our mission at Katz & Associates is to help others communicate about things that matter – and right now, water matters a great deal all around the world. Serving as one of the nation’s leading communications firms specializing in water, recycled water, potable reuse and wastewater projects, we have a long history of providing public outreach and involvement support for these projects, both off- and on-site. As conditions in the water industry change, our communication experts stay current by continuing to apply public engagement best practices and using cutting edge public outreach strategies to help ensure safe, reliable water supply solutions are implemented.
In recent years, water supply has become top-of-mind for many in the United States, especially as drought conditions persist. The National Drought Mitigation Center’s Drought Monitor indicates that more than 20 states will experience abnormally dry conditions throughout 2015. California, in particular, will experience the most exceptional drought conditions lasting for at least six months. As a result, more cities and water agencies are exploring alternative, innovative water supplies to meet their needs.
In addition to our work in California, we work with water agencies nationwide as they seek ways to inform their community members about innovative alternative water supplies. We also have a keen interest in researching better ways to conduct public engagement efforts. Patricia Tennyson, our Executive Vice President, was a co-principal investigator with Mark Millan of Data Instincts on two WateReuse Research Foundation projects this past year. The first project, Development of Public Communication Toolkit for Desalination Projects, provides resources to help those charged with implementing public outreach programs for ocean water or groundwater desalination. The second, Model Communication Plans for Increasing Awareness and Fostering Acceptance of Direct Potable Reuse, provides both statewide and local communication plan templates, as well as recommendations for public outreach activities and tools that agencies implementing direct potable reuse projects can use in their communities.
We helped the City of San Diego take a notable step towards sustainable alternative water supplies and were pleased when the San Diego City Council unanimously approved Pure Water San Diego last year. Approximately 85 percent of San Diego’s water supply comes from Northern California and the Colorado River, so having a new local water supply is extremely important. We worked with the City to develop and implement a comprehensive communication strategy to inform San Diegans about the importance of local water sources and the science of water purification technology as evidenced by the City’s Water Purification Demonstration Project. The City’s Demonstration Project (now the Pure Water San Diego program) was awarded the U.S. Water Alliance’s 2015 U.S. Water Prize for being, “a trailblazer for reservoir augmentation… helping [to] develop standards for potable reuse across the country,” as well as the Silver Award of Merit in the Public Affairs category by the Public Relations Society of America San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter. We are proud to continue supporting the Pure Water San Diego Program, which will provide one-third of San Diego’s drinking water supply by 2035.
We are also pleased to work with the Santa Clara Valley Water District as they continue to evaluate additional uses for the water produced at the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center, including the potential for potable reuse. When the Purification Center began operating in 2014, it was the largest water purification plant of its kind in Northern California, producing 8 million gallons of purified water a day. Currently this water is blended with recycled water produced at the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility to expand the non-potable water reuse applications in Santa Clara County and decrease the amount of wastewater discharged into the San Francisco Bay.
As we enter 2015, Katz & Associates practitioners are eager to put our expertise to work for water agencies that are finding ways to ensure a safe, reliable water supply. We believe innovation will preserve and provide water supplies for future generations and we welcome opportunities to help make this a reality.