You may find that community members are wary to drink the treated water because they don’t trust it. Distrust of treated water most often stems from a fear that the chemicals used to treat the water may be detrimental to health or a lack of familiarity with the treatment process. If you have observed distrust or wariness to drink the treated water in your community, conduct or encourage leadership to conduct an assessment to identify the source of these feelings. Once you have gained an understanding for the source of the distrust, utilize the materials in the following sections that will best help you inform and build trust of the treated water within your community.
Summarizing Water Quality for Customers: Consumer Confidence Reports
The more that customers know about the treated water, the easier it will be for them to trust it and feel confident drinking it. One common method for informing community members about local drinking water quality is by providing an annual water quality report known formally as a Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).
Increasing Awareness Through Water Treatment Plant Tours
Knowledge and transparency can often replace fear and distrust. The better your customers understand the water treatment process and its purpose, the more likely they will be to trust and value the treated water. One of the most effective ways to share your community’s treatment process is to offer a water treatment plant tour. For more ideas on conducting a tour in your own community, click on the button below.
Increasing Awareness through Reading Materials
For those interested in reading about the process, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) offers an excellent resource; A Drop of Knowledge: The Non-Operator’s Guide to Drinking Water Systems to begin with. This guide provides a comprehensive introduction to drinking water systems, tracing source water to drinking water, and water distribution. It is a somewhat long document , but worth the read.
PROMOTING Connection to YOUR LOCAL DRINKING WATER
In order to change community members' perceptions toward the treated water, it helps to get them engaged in conversations about water in positive way. The section on Promoting Connection to Local Water offers a diversity of approaches to outreach and activities that will help you facilitate the opportunity to address issues of trust with your community.