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The Water Authority's Water News Network won a Bronze Bernays Award from the Public Relations Society of America San Diego/Imperial Chapter.

Water Agency Outreach Efforts Honored

The San Diego County Water Authority and three of its member agencies were recognized Dec. 17 by the Public Relations Society of America San Diego/Imperial Counties chapter for outstanding work in public outreach and education efforts.

The 2020 PRSA Bernays Awards were presented for communication on a variety of platforms, all designed to inform stakeholders and ratepayers about initiatives ensuring a safe and reliable water supply. Awards were presented virtually via live Twitter feed.

The Silver Bernays Award of Merit went to the Water Authority for "Engaging Hispanics on Water Quality Issues." Photo: PRSA SD/IC

The Silver Bernays Award of Merit for “Engaging Hispanics on Water Quality Issues.” Photo: PRSA SD/IC

The Water Authority received the Silver Bernays Award of Merit for Multicultural Public Relations for “Engaging Hispanics on Water Quality Issues,” and a Bronze Award of Merit in the Research/Evaluation category for “Researching Themes for Hispanic Outreach for Water Quality.” The agency’s Water News Network received a Bronze Award of Merit in the Websites category.

Earlier this year, the Water News Network was named “Best Website” among California public agencies in the California Association of Public Information Officials EPIC Awards competition. The website was also awarded first place as “Best Public Service or Consumer Advocacy Website” in the 2020 San Diego Press Club Journalism Awards.

“During the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was more important than ever for the Water Authority to intensify its efforts to communicate with our audiences and assure them that the virus was not transmitted through the public water system and the essential work to provide a safe, reliable water supply continued without interruption,” said Denise Vedder, director of the Water Authority’s Public Affairs Department.  “In partnership with our member agencies, the Water News Network and our Hispanic outreach initiative played a key role in achieving this goal, and it is rewarding to be recognized by PRSA San Diego/Imperial Counties chapter for those results.”

Water agency outreach wins recognition

Padre Dam Municipal Water District and the cities of San Diego and Oceanside also received awards for outreach and education programs.

City of Oceanside employees Carlos Raymundo (closest) and Shawn Alonzo view the award-winning Pure Water Oceanside wall art project. Photo: City of Oceanside

Oceanside employees Carlos Raymundo (front right) and Shawn Alonzo view the Pure Water Oceanside wall art project. Photo: City of Oceanside

The City of Oceanside and NV5 Inc. recognized in three categories for Pure Water Oceanside:

Silver Award of Excellence, Campaigns: Events and Observances – Less Than Seven Days – “Pure Water Oceanside is on the Map!”

Bronze Award of Merit, Creative Tactics – “Wall Art Tells Story of Water’s Past, Present, & Future”

Bronze Award of Merit, Video – “Pure Water Oceanside Video”

“The City of Oceanside is proud to put Pure Water Oceanside on the map,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director, City of Oceanside. “Once complete, Pure Water Oceanside will provide more than 30% of Oceanside’s water supply. Our staff and consultants are dedicated to providing Oceanside with innovative solutions to water reliability and continued water reuse education.”

The City of San Diego, along with Katz & Associates, received a Silver Bernays Award of Merit in Campaigns, Events, and Observances – Less Than Seven Days for its “2020 Pure Water San Diego Virtual Contractor Expo.”

City of San Diego Director of Public Utilities Shauna Lorance welcomes viewers to the new virtual tour. Photo: City of San Diego water agency outreach

City of San Diego Director of Public Utilities Shauna Lorance welcomes viewers to the new virtual tour. Photo: City of San Diego

“Outreach remains a key element of our Pure Water program,” said Shauna Lorance, director of public utilities for the City of San Diego. “When the pandemic made in-person engagement impossible, our community outreach and project management teams rose to the challenge and implemented a successful 2020 Pure Water Virtual Contractor Expo. Providing the personal outreach to potential contractors allows the contractors to develop the best bids possible and helps ensure a successful Pure Water project.”

The Padre Dam Municipal Water District won a Bronze Award of Excellence for its 2019 Annual Report.

The cover of the award-winning Padre Dam Municipal Water District 2019 annual report. Photo: Padre Dam MWD

The award-winning Padre Dam Municipal Water District 2019 annual report. Photo: Padre Dam Municipal Water District

“Padre Dam is proud of our communications team for the great thought, creativity, and appreciation of the District’s work that is put into projects like the annual report,” said Melissa McChesney, communications manager for the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. “They do all of this in order to share with our customers the important work and services we provide to our community.”

The SCOOP SD program and Tracks PR received a Silver Bernays Award of Excellence in Campaigns: Events and Observances – Less than Seven Days, Business, and a Bronze Bernays Awards of Merit in Creative Tactics, both for Sweet Relief for Small Biz During COVID.

our hundred community members took tours of the five-step water purification process at the Demonstration Facilities. Photo: City of San Diego

Awards Recognize Water Agency Outreach and Education Efforts

The San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America recognized the San Diego County Water Authority and three regional member water agencies for exceptional work in public outreach and education efforts at its annual Bernays Awards ceremonies on Nov. 7.

The initiatives are designed to inform stakeholders and ratepayers about initiatives ensuring a safe and reliable water supply.

Water agency outreach and communication programs supporting the region’s projects using proven water purification technology to purify recycled water to create new local sources of high-quality drinking water won multiple honors.

The Water Authority’s informative “Brought To You By Water” video series, highlighting the importance of water reliability to the region’s economy, also won recognition.

Visitors learn about technology used to purify and recycle water at Pure Water Oceanside open house outreach events. Photo: City of Oceanside Water agency outreach

Visitors learn about the technology used to purify and recycle water at Pure Water Oceanside open house outreach events. Photo: City of Oceanside

The City of Oceanside won in three categories for Pure Water Oceanside:

Bronze Award of Excellence, Research/Evaluation

“Research Makes a Difference.” Pure Water Oceanside, City of Oceanside, and NV5 Inc.

Bronze Award of Excellence, Community Relations, Nonprofit/Government/Association

Pure Water Oceanside, City of Oceanside, and NV5 Inc.

Silver Award of Merit, Events, and Observances (7 days or fewer, Nonprofit/Government/Association)

“Pure Water Oceanside – World of Water,” City of Oceanside and NV5 Inc.

“Providing our water customers with quality and creative communications is a cornerstone of our transparency efforts,” said Cari Dale, water utilities director for the City of Oceanside. “By being recognized by PRSA for our passion, creativity and innovative methods to communicate about Pure Water Oceanside – a program that will provide a new, local source of high-quality drinking water as soon as 2021 – our public outreach work is validated in bringing such an important and beneficial project to Oceanside.”

Visitors to the East County Water Festival on Sept. 8 can t, tour the East County Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility. Photo: Courtesy Padre Dam MWDVisitors to the East County Water Festival on Sept. 8 tour the East County Advanced Water Purification Demonstration Facility. Photo: Courtesy Padre Dam MWD

The East County Advanced Water Purification Program, which includes the Padre Dam Municipal Water District, City of El Cajon, County of San Diego, won with NV5 in two categories for its East County Water Festival. It received an Award of Excellence in the Creative Tactics category and was also named a “Best of Show” winner among all Bronze entries.

“As a public entity of the communities we serve, it is imperative that we communicate effectively the benefit and need of key water projects,” said Melissa McChesney, communications manager for the Padre Dam Municipal Water District. “Our outreach team has done an outstanding job sharing with our communities the importance of the East County Advanced Water Purification Project. I am thrilled to see this essential work recognized by PRSA.”

Attendees enjoyed a variety of family-friendly activities at the third annual Pure Water Day. Photo: City of San Diego

Attendees enjoyed a variety of family-friendly activities at the third annual Pure Water Day. Photo: City of San Diego

The City of San Diego won a Bronze Award of Excellence for its Community Outreach in the Nonprofit/Government/Association category for its work on behalf of Pure Water San Diego’s Phase 1.

“The City of San Diego and Katz & Associates were pleased to have Pure Water San Diego’s community outreach efforts recognized by PRSA,” said Amy Dorman, deputy director, Pure Water Operations. “The Pure Water San Diego team formed community-specific working groups to gather informed feedback on how to avoid or minimize construction impacts from future Pure Water pipelines.”

The Water Authority’s regional outreach and education program, “Brought to You by Water,” was recognized with several awards.

The B2UbyH2O program was designed to expand Water Authority relationships and help stakeholders across the region recognize the critical value of safe and reliable water supplies for our economy and quality of life.

The program won Bronze Bernays Awards in the Video/Video Program and Creative Tactics categories for a series of videos featuring local leaders discussing the importance of water to their business or industry.

The series also won Silver Bernays awards in the Public Service category and the Reputation/Brand Management category.

Denise Vedder, director of the Water Authority Public Outreach and Conservation Department, was honored as the Public Relations Professional of the Year for the PRSA San Diego/Imperial Counties chapter. The honor is presented each year to a public relations practitioner who shows dedication to bettering the public relations field through innovative thinking and successful planning.

Past winners include Diana Lucero, director of marketing and public relations, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority and Chris Wahl, president, Southwest Strategies.

MarketInk: Canale, Mixte Southwest Shine at Annual PRSA Bernays Awards

Life sciences public relations firm Canale Communications received 14 awards, including a Best of Show distinction, at the recent 2019 Edward L. Bernays Mark of Excellence awards program presented by the Public Relations Society of America’s San Diego-Imperial Counties chapter.

A total of 73 awards were presented Nov. 7 at the Andaz San Diego Hyatt Hotel. Mixte Communications received 10 awards, including a Best of Show and Special Award for PR Team of the Year. Another top winner of the evening was public affairs firm Southwest Strategies with nine awards.

Four special awards were presented, including:

  • Deborah Baker PR Professional of the Year Award — Denise Vedder, San Diego County Water Authority
  • Eva Irving Community Service Award — Jean Walcher, J. Walcher Communications
  • 2019 Professional of the Year Award — Cambria Fuqua, Canale Communications
  • Otto Bos Hall of Fame Award — Marlee J. Ehrenfeld, MIG