It is a crisp October morning. A WaterSmart colleague rolled out of bed late, grabbed his things, and rushed out the door without turning on the local news. He spent his commute listening to one of his favorite podcasts and checking texts and emails on his phone (but not while driving!). When he got into the office, he headed to the kitchen, and as he began to fill a glass of water from the tap a coworker gasped and asked if he heard about the boil water notice. Immediately, concern set in and hebegan to wonder how he missed such a critical announcement. Unfortunately, this lack of public awareness is not an uncommon occurrence during a water quality incident.
WaterSmart just reached a major milestone. We signed our 100th utility partner. It's only a number, and given that there are about 50,000 community water systems in the United States, this accomplishment is, pardon the pun, just a drop in the bucket. What is important is that the WaterSmart team has had the opportunity to learn an amazing amount from these hundred partnerships. We've worked with scores of utility staff and surveyed hundreds of thousands of end-use customers. What has come from all that experience and data are some pretty interesting insights.
Given this milestone, we thought it would be a good time to pause and reflect on our journey over the past nine years. We went back and aggregated a large set of survey data and partner feedback to summarize what we've learned on our journey from 1 to 100. We hope these compelling insights form the basis for best practices throughout the industry moving forward.