Investor-owned water companies (IOWCs) throughout California are working with their customers to meet state-mandated conservation targets. California American Water (CAW) and California Water Service (Cal Water) have employed different approaches in meeting with customers.
CAW conducted a series of “Walk and Talk” campaigns in its Sacramento/Antelope, Los Angeles and Ventura Districts this past spring and summer.
CAW hired and trained contractors to visit customers in their homes to provide them with information about CAW’s conservation services and distribute garden hose nozzles to encourage customers to prevent water waste. The campaign connected with almost 4,000 homes in the Sacramento/Antelope area and close to 11,500 in Los Angeles and Ventura. Bags with information and nozzles were left on doorsteps of customers not at home.
|Location||Emails Received||Contact||Bag Drop Only||Total Bags Dropped|
Target: 3,992 homes
Target: 7,999 homes
Los Angeles/Ventura Neighborhood Outreach Results
“We received lots of positive feedback from our customers as a result of the ‘Walk and Talk campaign,’” noted Evan Jacobs, CAW External Affairs Manager. “It’s a great example of the range of CAW’s communications efforts during the drought. Although Internet and social media outreach is great, face-to-face interactions are still appreciated and very effective.”
Several customers contacted CAW after the “Walk and Talk” to inquire about a range of issues, such as receiving the information in Chinese and Japanese, or to ask questions about water use, pools, rebates and whether gray-water washing machines are legal.
To reach high-use water customers, Cal Water conducted focus groups to determine the best way to reach those customers, following up with letters to the highest water-using customers in each district and offering conservation programs. The effort resulted in reaching 8,200 customers, many of whom were subsequently contacted by phone to further assist them in reducing their water use. Cal Water also conducted two walkabouts in high-use areas of the Visalia District contacting 200 families.
For customers in select districts, Cal Water also conducted conservation gardening and indoor/outdoor conservation workshops and sent letters to all commercial and industrial customers to advise them of available conservation programs. These efforts reached 34,000 customers. Additionally, Cal Water conducted two month-long social media campaigns on conservation and a drawing for a $500 bill credit for Visalia customers meeting or surpassing their conservation target as well as newspaper advertising campaigns in all districts.
Looking to the future, Cal Water plans to offer a property owners’ coffee roundtable in the Bear Gulch District for high-use customers, winter water budget gift card drawings, customer appreciation events, additional advertising and social media campaigns and an outreach campaign to school superintendents.