Water utilities are considered essential services within their communities. They are anchor institutions that relentlessly serve the public alongside emergency services, law enforcement, hospitals, universities, grocery stores, transportation, fuel, gas, and electricity.
Typically, when people think about their water utility, what comes to mind is, do I have access to water? Is the commodity affordability? And finally, is my water safe to drink? It is atypical for a customer or the public to wonder how my water utility will educate and engage me on local, national, and global causes. With this in mind, we went to work. There was a desire to foster unique resources and form organic community connections across customer types, businesses, government, and non-profits within the city and county. Next, we heightened our Collective and Competitive spaces.
The first step was forming impactful partnerships. At a high level, we partner with United Way and host two anonymous donor campaigns, The Community BabyShower (Dec-Feb) and Stuff The Bus (June-August), to share a list of needed items. Annually, without exception, the department and neighbors step up.
The dreams we fueled by quotes and grew.
"It's good to have high-quality competition; it helps drive research forward at a faster pace." -- Shuji Nakamura, engineer, and inventor.
"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world." —B.B. King
"Only as high as I reach can I GROW, only as far as I SEEK can I go, only as deep as I LOOK can I SEE, only as much as I DREAM can I BE. "--Karen Raun
The second phase magnified our goals, strengthened partnerships, improved the community, and recognized MWRD as an environmentally friendly partner. We pushed the needle further in 2015, anchored on the four-goal pillars of engagement, education, encouragement, and empowerment. We hosted a statewide outdoor culinary arts contest with the Rotary BBQ Fest to recognize, elevate learning, and encourage hidden and unrecognized students.
The final phase was a by-product of an Earth Day School Poster Contest season. MWRD-CA created a new contest stream to engage our future customers, ninth - twelfth graders in the city and county. The Imagine A Day Without Water (IADWW) celebration was the perfect national target. We revitalized our annual social media and office celebrations with the addition of a tailored electronic IADWW contest. It was designed to unleash the entrants' learning boundaries and spark new channels of research and creativity. And that is what happens annually because of the IADWW educational contest.