Valencia Water Company’s “Water SMART” public outreach and education campaign took top honors recently during Southern California’s premier communications awards program.
The Los Angeles Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA-LA) bestowed a PRISM award under the Public Education category to Valencia Water Company (VWC). The award, given during ceremonies at the Beverly Hills Hotel, recognized Valencia Water’s comprehensive, ongoing effort to inform its customers about the new allocation-based tiered rate program and how to be water efficient.
“Valencia Water Company is proud to be recognized for its commitment to communicate with our customers about their water habits and for a group of outstanding employees who routinely go the extra mile to work with our customers,” said Keith Abercrombie, Valencia Water Company’s general manager.
The award was for VWC’s outreach and education efforts conducted specifically during the 2012-2013 fiscal year, but also recognized prior efforts leading up the most recent work. The judges noted that Valencia Water Company exceeded its objectives to implement these new programs with broad customer understanding and acceptance, and for its informational graphics that explained in clear terms how allocations and tiered rates worked.
“Much of this success was due to our customer service representatives being well prepared to answer questions, and to our conservation team and entire staff who dedicate important time and energy to reach out to those customers with specific issues and questions regarding their water use,” Abercrombie said.
VWC implemented a water allocation program with tiered rates that reward water efficiency to help it meet a 2020 deadline to reduce per capita water use by 20 percent. The Water Smart Allocation and Tiered Rates Program is a key component of Valencia’s Water Conservation Program and provides VWC customers with detailed water use information on both their monthly bills and online through their secure personal billing accounts. Valencia Water Company provides monthly water allocations to each of its residential customers based on their specific water use needs using weather data specific to the Santa Clarita Valley, calculations on efficient indoor water use, and precise information about each individual customer’s landscaped area. A five-tier rate structure is designed to prevent water waste.
“The Water Smart Allocation and Tiered Rates Program provides our customers with customized water use information on a mass scale. Using this information, customers can make informed decisions and choices about how to best improve their water use efficiency” said Matt Dickens, Valencia Water Company’s resource conservation manager.
Assisting VWC in this effort was its communications consultant, The Wolcott Company, which has provided news releases, graphic design and printed materials; arranged for community and stakeholder briefings; and developed the original strategic communications plan for announcing allocations and tiered rates. PRSA is the largest public relations association in the world.
About Valencia Water Co.
Valencia Water Company (Valencia) serves approximately 116,000 people in the Santa Clarita Valley, including Valencia, Stevenson Ranch and portions of Newhall, Saugus and Castaic. Valencia supplies its customers with high-quality water supplied from local wells and from imported supplies. Valencia is an investor owned water utility regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the state agency charged with regulatory oversight of public utilities in California. Valencia Water Company can be reached at: www.valenciawater.com or 661-294-0828.