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The Sweetwater Authority received CAPIO's EPIC Award earlier this month for its innovative communication for the Hydro Station Education Experience. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District Win Statewide Award for Hydro Station Education Experience

The Sweetwater Authority Governing Board on July 22 was presented with the California Association of Public Information Officials Award of Distinction for excellence in public information and communications. As a collaborative project with the Chula Vista Elementary School District, the Sweetwater Authority and the Otay Water District received the award from CAPIO earlier this month for innovative communications for the Hydro Station Education Experience.

The Hydro Station at Sweetwater’s Richard A. Reynolds Groundwater Desalination Facility,  hosts learning exhibits and hands-on activities to introduce 4,000 local students annually to the ecological cycle of water, water conservation, water quality, and careers in the water industry. The Hydro Station is made possible through a partnership between the Sweetwater Authority, Chula Vista Elementary School District, and the Otay Water District.

Hydro Station Education Experience opened in August 2019

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their first visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Chula Vista fifth graders enjoy their visit to the new Hydro Station educational facility. Photo: Sweetwater Authority

“It is exciting to be on a Board that values the importance of strategic partnerships,” said Governing Board Chair Steve Castaneda. “We are working with the Chula Vista Elementary School District and the Otay Water District to provide educational opportunities for students in our service area and to expose local children to a career path that could position them as tomorrow’s water leaders.”

The program opened in August 2019 after months of planning and collaboration with its partners.

The Authority’s Communications Committee Chair, José F. Cerda, is a long-time advocate of the partnership.

“As a former Chula Vista Elementary School District educator, I have seen the impacts that these sort of innovative classroom experiences can have on students and their families,” said Cerda. “I am so proud of the work that we are doing at the Authority and being an industry leader in creating and developing experiences for the children in our community.”

The Hydro Station will resume in a virtual format for students in the Chula Vista Elementary School District next month.

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Water News Network Named Best California Public Agency Website

The Water News Network website has been named “Best Website” among California public agencies for 2020 in the California Public Information Officers EPIC Awards competition.

The CAPIO EPIC Awards recognize the “best of the best” in government communications throughout the state. Winning entries demonstrate the most creative and effective efforts in the areas of communication and marketing campaigns, newsletter production, photography, special events, writing, website development and video production.

EPIC Award-CAPIO-San Diego County Water Authority-Water News Network

Water News Network Named Best California Public Agency Website

The Water News Network website has been named “Best Website” among California public agencies for 2020 in the California Public Information Officers EPIC Awards competition.

The CAPIO EPIC Awards recognize the “best of the best” in government communications throughout the state. Winning entries demonstrate the most creative and effective efforts in the areas of communication and marketing campaigns, newsletter production, photography, special events, writing, website development and video production.

Original news content praised by judges

The Water News Network received praise from competition judges for keeping all stakeholders in mind when creating the website, and for its initiative in producing original story content and photos. Other finalists in the Best Website/App category were the City of Santa Clara for its SantaClaraCA.gov website redesign; and Contra Costa County for its ‘Virtual Office’ entry.

“Over the past two years, the Water News Network has become a timely and reliable source of news and information about a variety of water issues, projects and programs affecting more than 3.3 million across San Diego County,” said Water Authority Public Affairs Director Denise Vedder. “We’re proud to collaborate with our member agencies on this and other outreach and education efforts about region’s most precious natural resource.”

EPIC Award for Best Website/App revealed in package

In lieu of an awards ceremony, trophies were mailed to the winning entrants with results revealed upon being opened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: CAPIO

In lieu of an awards ceremony, trophies were mailed to the winning entrants with results revealed upon being opened in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: CAPIO

The EPIC Awards honor work that transcends innovation and craft, work that made a lasting impact, providing an equal chance of winning to all entrants regardless of company or agency size and project budget.

Entries are assessed on research and planning efforts that display an understanding of audience objectives and needs for information; development and execution; and how successfully the entrant organization achieves its objectives.

This year’s CAPIO EPIC Awards program drew a record number of 275 entries in all categories from throughout the state of California.

The Water News Network has also won the Best Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Website category for the past two years in the San Diego Press Club‘s Annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

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