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The Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission's Creative Solution to Engage and Educate the Community
The Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC) is the regional wastewater provider for the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon area serving about 250,000 people. A goal was set to foster public awareness of the MWMC, the regional wastewater system, and maintaining water quality and a sustainable environment. This goal guided the MWMC to embark on two iterations of strategic communications planning, with a first phase in 2014 and second phase in 2019, which consisted of conducting market research and producing and updating a Communications Plan.
What was learned through these efforts is that while 86% of community members surveyed view protecting air and water quality as an important community issue, name recognition of the MWMC and the understanding of the services provided are low. To increase community awareness of the MWMC, and to connect citizens’ value for clean water with the actions needed to protect water quality, staff recommended that a new flagship video be included as a tactic in the updated 2021 Communications Plan. The video would educate the community on the importance of clean water and detail who the MWMC is and their impact on the community.
The MWMC communications team created and produced the in-house video, Community Partnership for Clean Water. Fifteen community leaders were selected to contribute to the video, including drinking water utility executives, environmental group leaders, members of the business and farming communities, local and national elected officials, and regional wastewater staff. These voices helped to tell the story from diverse of perspectives. Supplemental footage was captured at various locations throughout the Eugene-Springfield area to visually convey the importance of clean water for all aspects of community life.
When the video was finalized, a digital campaign was launched to share it with community members through platforms such as the MWMC YouTube channel, website, social media, and newsletter. Partner organizations also shared the video with their audiences.
NACWA awarded the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission a 2022 National Environmental Achievement Award in the Public Information & Education – E-Media category for its impactful and informative video. Congratulations to MWMC and everyone involved!