Building Relationships Between Community Organizations and Water Systems – Join the Trust Building Workgroup

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Public investment in environmentally sustainable water infrastructure is crucially needed for the health and safety of our communities and waterways, and strong and authentic relationships between local community groups and water systems built on trust are vital to achieving equitable and sustainable water systems. Answering this need, community-based organizations and water systems across the country have come together, for example, to distribute water filters, conduct water quality monitoring, implement green infrastructure, develop needed workforces, and protect sources of drinking water. To be successful and long lasting, these types of partnerships between water systems and community groups depend on core operating strategies such as robust stakeholder engagement and participation in program design, increasing transparency, and open lines of communication.

River Network and WaterNow Alliance are teaming up to find the best of these experiences and learn from them. We will then synthesize our findings to create a set of “best practices” to be shared and applied broadly by other communities looking to create similar partnership-based initiatives and increased trust.

If your water system (drinking water, wastewater or stormwater) and community organization (e.g. water, environmental justice, housing, etc.) have worked together in an authentic way to create a successful community-facing initiative, project, or program resulting in stronger relationships, please apply together to join our trust building workgroup by filling out this short form. Please contact Katherine Baer with any questions.

Trust Building Workgroup

Commitment – Teams (of water systems and community groups) agree to an in-depth interview and follow-up to help us learn more about your process for relationship and trust building in your community. The workgroup will also include participation in a one day in-person or virtual summit to discuss results with other teams. Participants will also be asked to review the final report synthesizing the interviews and outlining identified best practices.

Timeline – The workgroup will engage with River Network and WaterNow beginning Spring 2020 through 2021:

May-July, 2020: participate in interviews
July-September, 2020: participate in virtual convening
2021: opportunity to mentor new partnerships; review final synthesis.

Benefits – each workgroup partner (community group and water system) will receive a stipend of $1,000 and will have the opportunity to learn from other workgroup member teams. Their work will be highlighted in our final roadmap for relationship and trust building, and at national conferences including the WaterNow Summit and River Rally.

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