Lessons On Communication For The Water Industry

Donna Vincent Roa

By Donna Vincent Roa


Water Online Radio talks to Dr. Donna Vincent Roa, water sector communication expert and managing partner of the Vincent Roa Group, about the importance of communication and innovation in the water industry.

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The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.

Water Online Radio:  Donna, communication is not something a lot of folks immediately think of when talking about the water industry. Tell us about how communication and water quality are connected.

Donna: We need big picture thinking to show how communication can support the issue of water quality. This would require three things:

  1. Making sure that we change the language of water, so that any stakeholder group can understand it; moving complexities in our language – engineering-speak, if you will – and changing that to more lay-language that people can understand. When we hear about red worms in the water quality supply or cryptosporidium, how can we change that language to be able to inform people in a very pedestrian, but informative way?
  2. Secondly, it’s important for us to address the knowledge gap of the general public and make sure that we feed appropriate information to make sure we have a water-aware general public.
  3. Thirdly, it’s important for us to treat water as a true brand in the marketplace. As communicators, we need to make sure that product quality – water quality – is a key criterion in the way that we communicate about water. As you well know, water utilities are a business, they should be treated and seen as a business, and communication is a key function in any business. We can use communication to raise the profile of water quality issues and, more importantly, the good work that water utilities are doing.

Click on the Radio Player at the top of the page to hear the full interview.