National Association of Clean Water Agencies

Washington, D.C., United States

The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). Raftelis was chosen to support NACWA in its celebration by capturing its accomplishments over the last 50 years in a National Record of Achievement. We 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.

We know most people will access this story digitally, and that’s why it was so important to have a website that tells the full national story, punctuated by the individual contributions of members. Visitors can click through the many eras of our sectors’ accomplishments, from its history and NACWA’s key important first accomplishments, into its mid-years when treatment technologies expanded and more funding and support was cultivated through NACWA’s continued advocacy, to the most recent history as clean water agencies moved into resource recovery, energy generation, and community engagement.

We also created 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 designed the website and printed materials so that viewers can learn about all of NACWA’s tremendous milestones and accomplishments and come away with a deeper appreciation for the work our clean water agencies do.

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. 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.

View the National Book