| Illinois Section promoting “Water Ambassadors” to increase public value of water
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Illinois Section promoting “Water Ambassadors” to increase public value of water

Nine Illinois communities recently were designated as “Water Ambassadors” and presented with street signs recognizing their commitment to the value of water, thanks to their local utilities’ efforts to advance residents’ perceptions of the value of water.

The water and wastewater utilities serving the recognized communities were inaugural participants in ISAWWA’s Water Ambassador program, which was launched last year to increase public awareness and knowledge about local water sources and systems. Participating utilities promoted the value of water by using engaging educational content provided by ISAWWA and section leaders, including infographics, video links, bill inserts and social media postings. (Pictured above, Water Ambassador signs presented by AWWA President Chi Ho Sham at WATERCON22)

EarthDay 2022 image“The public’s perception about the value of water has been a concern for our members, and ISAWWA’s leadership came together in 2020 to create this program with the official launch on July 1, 2021. Our membership was involved from the program’s design to providing content for us to use,” said Annie Storey, ISAWWA executive director. (Pictured left and below, Water Ambassador materials)

“Through newsletters, social media, tours and videos, our Water Ambassador communities explained where their water comes from, and how it flows from its source into their homes and businesses,” she added. 

Utilities completing specific program requirements earned the Water Ambassador recognition for their communities, including the cities of Elmhurst, Evanston, Rolling Meadows and Springfield, and the villages of Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Norridge, Tinley Park and Westmont. The utilities also received framed certificates to display at their facilities, which ISAWWA leaders presented at community meetings. 

Inspiring future engineers image“Like all of AWWA’s sections, ISAWWA is committed to increasing public understanding of water systems and an appreciation for the critical services that water utilities provide for their communities,” Storey said. “The Water Ambassador program gives us another avenue to provide education and build trust with communities in our state.”

Public and private water and wastewater utilities operating in Illinois can participate in the annual Water Ambassador program and information is available on ISAWWA’s website. There are several levels of involvement that determine participants’ award level, including actions related to educating elected officials and consumers and promoting industry-related events and celebrations. Nineteen communities participated in the 2021 program.