The City of San Diego’s Water Purification Demonstration Project tested whether potable reuse was a feasible option for supplementing water supplies in San Diego. Previous attempts at introducing potable reuse were unsuccessful primarily because of public perception and other water resource initiatives. To improve public understanding, an extensive education and outreach program was launched and continues to be a major component of the fully realized project, the Pure Water San Diego Program.
In 2010, K&A developed a comprehensive communication plan and has been implementing the plan to inform community members and businesses about the need for local water sources and the science of water purification technology. The public is regularly provided with accurate program information to eliminate misinformation. K&A has served as part of the Pure Water management team since the program’s inception, helping to successfully advance all communication facets, and in turn, has won numerous awards for communications and outreach for the program. K&A has two on-site communication specialists working full time on the program, as well as off-site senior strategic counsel and additional special project support. In addition to day-to-day programmatic outreach, K&A also provides construction relations support, which includes having designated outreach liaisons for each Phase 1 community and developing a comprehensive construction outreach plan.
To date, the outreach program has included more than 1,000 tours of the Pure Water Demonstration Facility, more than 600 speaker’s bureau presentations and participation in nearly 250 community events. The Pure Stone partnership event, which featured the first beer brewed with advanced-treated recycled water garnered more than 80 pieces of media coverage worldwide. The Pure Water Program has won nearly twenty communication /public outreach awards, including multiple Awards of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) San Diego/Imperial Counties chapter.