Public Communications Toolkit

Welcome to AWWA's Public Communications Toolkit

This kit contains all of AWWA's information on public communication, from talking points to Journal AWWA articles to presentations, all in one place for easy access.




Strategic communications planning is important, especially with evolving regulatory requirements, enhanced media outreach and growing public expectations. This section will provide you with a sample utility communications plan and other planning resources.

Four Steps for Successful Communications Planning

  • Figure out what message you want to communicate.
  • Define your "target" audiences.
  • Assess your utility's current communications procedures.
  • Select the public relations strategies that will most effectively communicate your image and messages to your key audiences.
To assist with this initial work, you may want to consider reviewing a Sample Utility Communications Plan or purchasing AWWA's G420 Communications and Customer Relations Standard.

For more information on strategic planning, check out these Journal AWWA articles:

Risk Communication

Section Communication

Other Communications Links



Media relations entails more than answering questions when a reporter calls. It's important to establish and maintain relationships with local reporters, publishers, editors and photographers of both print and television news outlets.

  • Establishing Relationships and Working with Local Media 



Make any event a success.



To communicate effectively during a crisis, background preparation is necessary. This section will provide you with a plan template that helps you respond before, during and after a crisis, as well as media tips and preparedness checklists.

The Public Notification Rule
A three-part series from Journal AWWA outlining the general requirements of the Public Notification Rule and offers assistance with creating a crisis communications plan, dealing with the media and preparing employees to handle questions while working in the community.

Additional Resources

Information on Special Issues



It is important for utilities to establish relationships with local stakeholders, including children. This section will offer ideas and strategies for reaching out to various groups and encouraging public participation.

Customer and Public Communication

Children’s Activities

  • Classroom Lesson for Elementary School Students 
    PowerPoint Presentation 
    Lesson Plan (PDF)
    Participant Handout (PDF)
    Quiz and Answer Key (PDF) 
  • Classroom Lesson for High School Students 
    PowerPoint Presentation 
    Lesson Plan (PDF)
    Participant Handout (PDF)
    Quiz and Answer Key (PDF) 

Visit's Kid's Place for additional materials and information. 



In today’s world electronic and digital communications are an increasingly important and affordable way to communicate with your audience. Here are few tools to help you build your electronic presence.