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As a water authority, you provide your city or county with one of the most essential services possible: access to clean, drinkable water. Residents and visitors don’t always think about it, but they all depend on you to ensure the water they use to cook, bathe, clean, and stay hydrated remains safely within strict EPA standards.

Citizens don’t always think about this, either, but they also depend on you to communicate clearly about the status of their water, your involvement in the community, any operational updates or changes, new regulations to be aware of, cost revisions, and so much more. It is crucial to keep your public informed about the water-related information that matters to them by maintaining strong channels of communication.

Before recent years, messaging within the water sector tended to place more value on the information presented than on the customer who would be receiving the information. But now that the user experience has become an increasingly fundamental aspect of marketing and communication across industries, you may wonder how you can improve your efforts to keep your audience informed in a way that matches today’s standards and expectations in communication.

Overcome the Challenge of Connecting With Your Customers

While your water authority does not require a marketing plan, you can still elevate your methods of communication with your customers and the residents of your service area by creating robust communications strategies and plans of action. The four most important elements to focus on to improve your messaging capabilities include your website, newsletters, report designs, and signage.

Serving Your Customers Through Your Website

Nowadays, it’s rare to click through to a website and see one that is not designed around the visitor’s experience. Even for water authorities like yours, where “winning over” customers with your design is unnecessary, people still expect ease of use, simplicity, and an attractive design. People also expect a mobile-friendly site, as well as one built with ADA compliance in mind.

There are many aspects to consider regarding today’s digital landscape and the website you have placed in your corner of the internet. To determine whether your site currently serves visitors like it should, answer “yes” or “no” to the following statements:

  • “My water authority’s website is easy to navigate.”
  • “My water authority’s website is designed for mobile.”
  • “My water authority’s website is ADA compliant.”
  • “My water authority’s website provides an efficient and satisfying user experience.”
  • “My water authority’s website is visually attractive.”
  • “My water authority’s website is enjoyable to visit.”
  • “My water authority’s website contains accurate, current information that customers need.”

If you answered “no” or “I’m not sure” to any of those statements, a website redesign may be in order.

MWA website before and after

Designing Easy-to-Read, Easy-to-Follow Newsletters

Does your water authority regularly use newsletters to communicate messages to customers? Newsletters that accompany mailed water bills and even digital newsletters that are emailed on a routine basis to online account holders can quickly and efficiently provide essential information to the public.

If you use newsletters, either in print or email form, do you also consider the design of them? Newsletters can be chock full of announcements, news updates, event details, and other pieces of information, but their design will determine whether or not the majority of recipients will actually read it or be able to find the info that is most valuable to them.

Every print or digital piece has a design, but not every piece has an effective, well-considered design. Layouts and visual components are often underrated, but they are extremely crucial to your written communication. The brain receives visuals faster and more thoroughly than any other content, and it is drawn to what is most appealing and logical. Because of that, there is a psychology to effective designs that skilled graphic designers understand.

A quality design considers the psychology behind a design and how people best receive information. Just a few factors that designers must consider include:

  • Information hierarchy and flow
  • Navigation
  • Mood
  • Color psychology
  • Visual consistency
  • Typography strategy

When a design uses these factors well, it not only serves the reader, but it also establishes a sense of professionalism from your water authority. Without a well-planned, visually appealing design, it can be difficult to come across as a professional entity to the people you serve. But with well-designed pieces, you can more effectively communicate with your citizens and improve your authority’s professional image.

MWA Newsletters

Designing Easy-to-Read, Easy-to-Follow PAFRS and CCRs

For all the same reasons mentioned above, it is essential to consider the design of your Popular Annual Financial Reports and Consumer Confidence Reports. You are required to produce these reports each year for transparency and public awareness, providing them in print form or digitally through email, and you might assume the design of each does not matter. However, it is important to consider how the information within each report is laid out and presented to readers.

The design of your PAFRs and CCRs dictates:

  • The hierarchy of information
  • The flow and navigation of each report
  • How digestible the information presented is

Again, people are visual creatures and, in general, have brains that rely on visuals way more than sound, smell, taste, or touch. How your reports look plays a huge role in how they will be received and how people will interact with them. It’s essential to present the necessary data through an effective design rather than one that barely considers the reader.

MWA Booklet Covers

Promoting Messages and Campaigns Through Quality Signage

As a water authority, you likely have a variety of messages to promote to the public that your website, newsletters, and other print or digital pieces can’t always effectively convey. Well-designed and strategically placed signage can inform those within your targeted segments of whatever messages you want or need to pass along.

Examples of signage you can use to promote your messages include:

Wall Murals

Perhaps you’d like a customer-facing mural, strategically located in an area that gets a lot of foot traffic, that visually shows people how you take water in its raw state and treat it to become safe, drinkable, and readily available throughout your service area.

Or maybe you want to dedicate some wall space to your board members, showing who is currently on the board and serving the people throughout your area.

You could even create a mural showing the benefits of reusable water bottles and the disadvantages of choosing single-use, disposable plastic water bottles.

There are countless mural designs that can help promote whatever message you want to provide to your customers or citizens.


Similar to the mural idea, you can use posters to encourage citizens to drink more water and choose reusable water bottles in the process. With the right permissions, you can mount them above water fountains at schools in your city or county, universities, commercial buildings, municipal buildings, and other locations that feature water fountains and get a lot of foot traffic.

Posters can also be used to inform viewers of various events your authority is sponsoring or hosting, in addition to other announcements or pieces of information.

Posters are easy to duplicate and, depending on their size, can be mounted in various locations to attract onlookers and further spread whatever message you want or need people to know.

MWA posters

Yard Signs

Does your water authority have trouble with citizens misusing your storm drains? It’s not unheard of for people to use drains as trash cans or discard dangerous or damaging contaminants by pouring them into storm drain openings. If this is a problem your water authority often faces, yard signs installed next to drains throughout your service area can quickly capture residents’ attention and discourage such behaviors or choices.

The message could be as simple as telling people, “Only Water Down the Drain.” It could also specify, “No Trash, Debris, or Contaminated Water.” You could even create a series of yard signs that display a variety of messages—that way, residents can learn something from each new sign they come upon.

Partner with a Design Team Who Can Handle Routine and Emergency Messaging. Partner with M&R Marketing.

Your water authority needs effective messaging solutions to benefit your customers, residents, and team. M&R Marketing is experienced in creating solutions for water authorities that get their messages across and do so with style and strategy. Our in-house graphic designers, copywriters, web developers, and digital strategists are ready to execute the tactics to elevate your messaging efforts and help you better connect with your customers.

If it’s time to create or rethink your water authority’s marketing, contact one of our business development managers today!

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