The success of the Regional District of Nanaimo’s source water protection program is largely a result of effective outreach and education efforts—599 of them between 2011 and 2018—that included:
- maximizing the use of the already established Team WaterSmart program with website enhancements, contests and campaigns, publications and media coverage, reports, and irrigation checkups;
- coordinating information and education resources such as school field trips and presentations, display booths, workshops, and events;
- providing demonstration projects including tours featuring water conservation technologies such as greywater and rainwater collection, treatment, and reuse; xeriscaping; rain gardens; and
- supporting volunteer and non-profit groups – annual water quality monitoring training and meetings for the Community Watershed Monitoring Network; and stewardship seed funding.
The delivery of the outreach program was a success on its own but also led to major accomplishments in water conservation, collaboration and the development partnerships, and public participation.
Outreach and education continues to be a focus of the RDN’s source water protection program and builds on the lessons learned in the 10 year review. A few of the proposed improvements include: the transition from “information overload” or highly detailed and technical outreach campaigns to more “best-in-class” methods that deliver simpler, more emphasized messages; and the need for brand and logo consistency among partnering municipalities, water programs and communications (to keep the message and vision clear throughout the region).