WateReuse Research Foundation Releases Communication Toolkit for Desalination Projects

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For Immediate Release
November 5, 2014
Contact: Mark Millan, Data Instincts
(707) 836-0300


Windsor, CA — Data Instincts, a Windsor public outreach firm specializing in water reuse, has announced the publication of a communication toolkit to help agencies develop effective public outreach plans for desalination projects. The communication toolkit was a joint effort by Data Instincts and Katz & Associates, a public outreach firm based in San Diego. The project, “Development of Public Communication Toolkit for Desalination Projects,” was funded by the national WateReuse Research Foundation.

As many communities consider desalination as a sustainable water source that can bolster their water portfolios, public and private agencies proposing desalination projects face questions about energy usage, brine disposal, and impacts to marine life. Any new water project—whether it’s a dam, reservoir, or recycled water project—can face significant hurdles when it comes to public acceptance.

“We know first-hand the challenges that a new water project can face,” said Mark Millan, principal of Data Instincts and a co-principal investigator on the project, along with Patricia Tennyson of Katz & Associates. “We’ve shared our experience and the experiences of many others and synthesized them into a format that we believe is practical and can be effective. Water is so important to our health and survival and we hope this will be a useful tool in helping communities plan for and achieve a safe and sustainable water supply.”

The communication toolkit includes a variety of documents and materials that will assist in shaping effective public outreach programs. Materials that are included draw from the experience of water purveyors that have proposed desalination projects in California, Texas, Florida, Australia, and Spain and provide useful real-life experience about what has worked and what hasn’t.

“We were very pleased and honored to be able to work on this project and engage many leaders throughout the country and the world who are involved in the water reuse and desalination industry,” said Millan. “We think that the toolkit provides a host of useful and proven methods to build a robust and successful public outreach effort.”

The materials in the Communication Toolkit are both “hands-on” and “virtual.” There is a menu of items that includes downloadable materials and a database of resources to assist project supporters in their research into what strategies have proved to be effective. The toolkit can be used in the following ways:

Combined Research Executive Summary: An executive summary of the project research from one-on-one interviews and secondary research provides project proponents with a summary of first-hand experiences and a guide to the literature available on key topics.

Strategic Outreach and Awareness Plan: The Strategic Outreach and Awareness Plan serves as the framework for all the communication efforts that take place in support of a desalination project.

A variety of collateral materials: A collection of sample fact sheets, FAQs, glossary, and other materials that can be used as templates for projects or as planning and development tools for public communication pieces tailored to specific projects.

How to Convey Critical Messages for a Desal Project:  This consists of a PowerPoint presentation and an accompanying paper for presentation in a workshop setting at a conference or scheduled meeting.

Link Library to helpful research documents: This database provides access to a variety of research that has previously been conducted, as well as lists of groups and organizations that have been active in supporting and opposing projects.

Video Library: A library of videos and useful video footage that can be used by agencies as part of their video production. Short, informational videos have proven effective in raising public awareness of water supply issues and interfacing with new media.

For more information, to view a video, or to order the toolkit, visit: www.watereuse.org/product/12-02-1

About the WateReuse Research Foundation

The WateReuse Research Foundation is an educational, non-profit public benefit corporation that serves as a centralized organization for the water and wastewater community to advance the science of water reuse, recycling, reclamation and desalination. The Foundation’s research covers a broad spectrum of issues, including chemical contaminants, microbiological agents, treatment technologies, salinity management, public perception, economics, and marketing. For more information, visit www.watereuse.org.

About Data Instincts

Intelligent Communications for Challenging Public Projects: A professional consultancy dealing with Public Information and Public Involvement serving municipalities, counties, public agencies and engineering firms with public outreach efforts. Data Instincts has been involved with public outreach and education for recycled water projects throughout California including work with the North Bay Water Reuse Authority, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Redwood City, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, Windsor and Petaluma. More information can be found at www.DataInstincts.com