It’s been said that one-fifth of the U.S. economy would come to a screeching halt without clean water. It’s true, and we are proud to be a part of a project that brings insights like this to light. The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). Raftelis was very honored to be chosen to support NACWA in its celebration by capturing its accomplishments over the last 50 years in a National Record of Achievement. Our charge? To put those accomplishments into context to help clean water agencies reach a broader audience and build greater appreciation and value for the work they do.
If you consider how most clean water agencies talk about their work, you’ll hear them talk about the engineering—the linear feet, plant capacity, and treatment technology. For engineers, this is exciting and laudable. But it doesn’t really touch consumers. And that’s what we need to do to get them to hear us, care about what we’re talking about, and support what we do. Through this National Record of Achievement, we talk about what clean water agencies do not just in terms of pollution prevented but also habitat created. And, not just in terms of money invested but also economic benefit. It’s not MGDs and TMDLs. It’s kayaking. Fishing. Having dinner on the water. Bike trails. Shopping districts. A hundred social benefits that positively impact our collective health and wellbeing. What we hope agencies get from these materials is a new, more elevated way to talk about what they do. Because, while clean water agencies are composed of engineers, analysts, and operators, they are also innovators, environmentalists, and community builders. We hope that with this story and these materials, clean water agencies will lean into and adopt this more elevated way to help consumers see the value in what they do and support it.
The products we created include a website and a printed brochure, including an e-book version, that walks readers through NACWA’s history and the triple-bottom-line impacts that clean water has had on communities from social, environmental, and economic perspectives. The story showcases the amazing work and impacts that NACWA and its members have had in the last 50 years and features success stories from members around the country whose work serves as direct evidence of the sector’s collective accomplishments. We invite you to scroll through the website or flip through the e-book, remember where you were during all of NACWA’s tremendous milestones and accomplishments, and come away with a deeper appreciation for the work our clean water compadres do. If you’re a clean water agency and have a story to tell, be sure to add yours to the growing list of successes on the website by completing this form.