The Value of Ongoing Public Communication


Many Colorado water districts are making a dramatic shift from nonrenewable to renewable sources. One such district, in conjunction with its long-term planning process, began taking steps in 2001 to establish a comprehensive plan to store, treat, and move renewable water into the district, reducing its reliance on nearby aquifers.

Keeping the Customers Informed

By 2009, the district was actively looking to purchase water rights along the local river. At the same time, the district�s board worked with WR Communications to keep its customers and downstream communities informed about these long term goals and ongoing efforts through public meetings, forums, letters, and other means.

The ideal solution presented itself when the property and water rights of a nearby ranch came on the market. WR Communications immediately shifted the public outreach message to explain this tremendous opportunity and also the impact of the revenue bond that the district would soon issue in order to make the purchase. A small minority of customers opposed the plan, many of them claiming that it was too sudden and that the community had not been kept informed.

The Value of Early and Ongoing Communication

While the board focused on legal and engineering due diligence and on putting together the best deal for the district and its customers, WR Communications coordinated the continued outreach. This included a local survey that verified that the majority of customers were aware of the district�s ongoing efforts to obtain renewable water.

When the opponents tried to tell the media that residents were blindsided by this proposal, the district shared the results of the survey and also documented its record of public outreach. The local media seemed to realize there really was no basis for controversy.

The district moved forward with the purchase and issued its revenue bond with no adverse affect to its bond or credit rating.


There is tremendous long-term value in keeping key audiences informed. Ongoing communications, even when the recipients may not be listening closely or the communications are routine, builds credibility for the communicator and trust within the target groups.