Big-Time Water Utility Advertising for a Tiny Audience

Looks like our local utility has placed an ad! A full page ad in the newspaper! On Sunday! Too bad almost no one under 50 reads the paper anymore in this town (oops, I’ve let a secret slip!)

So what does this big, costly full-page ad say?! Hmmmm. I’m not quite sure. I think it says that our tap water is good. Or maybe not good. I’m not a water engineer or scientist, so I’m clueless as to what this actually means. One thing is certain: I’m pretty sure they’re communicating that the water meets minimum standards and is not breaking any regulations or laws. My untrained eye does see that our water contains some cyanide and other icky stuff, but hey, guv’ment says it’s acceptable, so it must be so!

PLEASE what will it take to convince water utilities that engineers and technical people should STOP producing public communications that can’t be understood by most of the public? There’s a world of people out there who NEED, even WANT, to understand what’s going on with our water supply. And I’m talking about adults. We DO NOT need more coloring books or school posters or lawn-watering tips or festivals for the kiddies, even though all that’s feel-good and low risk.

Instead, this is the norm, a “best practice,” here in my town and countless others. What a shame, and what an opportunity lost.

2 replies
  1. Jon DiPietro
    Jon DiPietro says:

    An archaic implementation of an archaic regulatory requirement. When you have a system that is based on punishing utilities for crossing a line, the only thing they care about is not crossing the line. Communicating, advocating, improving and exceeding are not part of the play book (for most).

    In this case, you have the double-whammy of engineers providing information in the format that lawyers created.

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