Water Haller: Making the News - More and More
If there was ever any doubt if water was an important national issue, just check out the news. (I was going to say "read the papers,” but we’re hitting every news platform).
Just this year alone, I have been interviewed by national news outlets on a wide range of water and wastewater topics. Early in the year, we were discussing the new National Drinking Water Guidelines for Lead and Manganese and trying to reassure consumers of the safety of drinking water. CWWA prepared speaking notes and Fact Sheets to support our members when talking to their local media.
Then we were interviewed about flooding across the country, then the forest fires and how we were maintaining water services in the face of climate change. CWWA sponsored research at Ryerson University to test the flushability of products and when that report came out, there was a lot of attention on this topic. CWWA then co-signed a formal complaint the Competition Bureau against 13 products we believed were inappropriately labelled as "flushable." This brought even more attention to the topic.
Just this morning, I did 14 interviews coast to coast commenting on a new report from Statistics Canada concerning testing for cannabis, methamphetamines and cocaine in wastewater. While we are not so concerned about drug consumption, this was an opportunity to discuss ALL the medications that come at us through the wastewater stream. I was able to discuss the challenges of medications, microbeads, wipes and more, while speaking to the need for continual improvement of our treatment technologies, as well as more research on the effects of what we release to the environment.
Before the year is over, we’ll be revisiting the Wastewater Effluent Regulations (WSER) as we approach the 2020 deadline and assess how well our communities are able to comply. This is also an election year and we expect environmental issues to be a high priority for Canadians. Aside from the carbon tax, there will be discussion of investments in infrastructure and support for addressing First Nations water issues.
I know what you’re saying…"But Robert, you haven’t plugged the National Water & Wastewater Conference in Banff, November 3-6 yet!” Well, this all relates. We are in the public relations and public attitudes business. We can’t stay quiet and just deliver water. We need to be effective communicators. That is why our opening keynote speaker, Grant Ainsley, will speak directly to this concept. Then, for the keeners, Grant will lead an interactive workshop in the afternoon for those willing to roll their sleeves up! Then we close the conference with one of our best communicators, Bob Sandford, as he speaks to the realities of Climate Change, but how we must continue to communicate a message of hope.
See you all in Banff!!