Planning for future water use and projects isn't the hippest activity in the world. You'd be hard pressed to find more than a couple of people under 35 at planning meeting at 9 a.m. on a Saturday or even 6 p.m. on a Thursday. San Antonio Water System (SAWS) wants to reach a younger generation of San Antonians for input on its 2015 Water Management Plan with a multi-faceted campaign that includes a website, a video, a short online survey, and social media presence.
"Traditional community outreach combined with new digital approaches will help us involve a larger audience in the conversation about the management of our precious water supply,” stated SAWS spokesperson Gavino Ramos in a news release. The campaign was developed by the DeBerry Group, the utility’s communications consultant, and SAWS staff.
The video features three well-known young professionals: Zac Harris, director of Marketing and Sales for Alamo Beer Company; Omar Gonzales, director of planning and operations at Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation and LOOP co-founder; and Ellie Leeper, public relations manager for CRIT USA, the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletónUSA.
“We are the future of San Antonio. We will be the business leaders of tomorrow who will have to deal with decisions made today,” stated Harris. “We need to be a part of the process to help establish future roles of water in our city to support economic development and recreation. It’s time for us – Millennials, young professionals and all folks in San Antonio, to get involved in the conversation so we can help plan for the future.”
Throughout the video and website, SAWS drops in some conceptual information about water management to give those surveyed some food for thought, including:
- "SAWS service area is expected to grow an estimated 34,000 new people every year, and the demand for water will grow along with it. SAWS projects its service area, with a population of about 1.6 million, will grow by 34,000 people annually, to nearly 2.5 million by 2040.
- "A typical water project takes 10-20 years to develop.
- "Water delivers jobs, education, health care, and retail.
- "... Rather than wait for a water shortage, San Antonio is investing wisely in new water projects to meet future needs..."
Every three years, SAWS updates its Water Management Plan. The 2015 plan will provide updates on water supply projects and conservation programs brought online or approved since 2012 – the Vista Ridge pipeline for instance – and address "demographic and growth changes."
Click here to download the 2012 Water Management Plan.
The website will be updated with important dates and meeting information as the planning process progresses. SAWS will also be reaching out to neighborhood associations, chambers of commerce, City Council members, and more to set up meetings and spread the word about the campaign.
*Featured/top image: Screenshot of SAWS' #WaterCitySA campaign video (from left) Ellie Leeper, public relations manager for CRIT USA, the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletónUSA; Zac Harris, director of marketing and sales for Alamo Beer Company; and Omar Gonzales, director of planning and operations at Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation and LOOP co-founder.