AWWA Gears Up for National Drinking Water Week

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has designated May 7 – 13 as National Drinking Water Week for 2000. The theme for this year's event is "Water Works Wonders!"

Educational events are planned on a state and local level throughout the week, in schools, drinking water treatment plants, shopping malls, and city halls. These environmentally concerned groups have scheduled river cleanups, hazardous waste collections, and other water pollution-fighting efforts. Although the official week runs from May 7 to May 13, some utilities have selected another week that fits better in their communities. And in California, the Water Awareness Campaign lasts the entire month of May.

While the association does not have the staff and connections to organize local events, it supports its 5,000 utility members with resources and a national media campaign. Popular events include open houses, contests for posters promoting water protection and conservation, displays at community centers and libraries, historic commemorations, public commissioning of new facilities, and public service announcements on radio and television.

For more than 30 years, the American Water Works Association has celebrated Drinking Water Week with its members. In 1988, AWWA brought the event to the attention of our government and formed a coalition along with the League of Women Voters, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Through these efforts, the National Drinking Water Alliance was formed of 15 nonprofit educational, professional, and public interest organizations.

The Blue Thumb Campaign, a year-round effort by these organizations, publishes a kit containing the following: water facts; Q&As; games and activities for kids; a coloring book; tips for water conservation; camera-ready ads for Drinking Water Week and the Blue Thumb logo; a sample news release; a poster; a catalog of Blue Thumb and youth education materials; and discount coupons for Blue Thumb products. The kit was sent to AWWA member utilities and other participating groups in late February.

Members can purchase additional kits from the AWWA Bookstore (800-926-7337) for $7.95. There is also a Web page for the Blue Thumb Campaign, www.awwa.org/bluethum.htm.

(SOURCE: EPA Office of Water)

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