WaterNow Alliance partnered with Santa Rosa Water to research water use efficiency program activities’ frequency and saturation levels across Latinx communities, and to identify best practices to enhance outreach and increase water use efficiency program uptake in these communities.
The City of Santa Rosa, California has a strong commitment to water use efficiency, with programs ranging from rebates to water audits. While 32 percent of Santa Rosa residents identify as Latinx, it was unclear whether water use efficiency programs were being effectively marketed to and utilized by the city’s Latinx community. WaterNow Alliance worked with Santa Rosa Water to assess whether water use efficiency program activities have occurred at the same frequency and saturation levels in Spanish-speaking and Latinx communities as in English-speaking communities – and the water savings gains that could be achieved by closing this participation gap. Informational interviews with utilities and local community groups helped identify best practices and concrete suggestions to enhance outreach and increase water use efficiency program uptake in Latinx communities.
Santa Rosa’s Board of Public Utilities adopted the project’s final report and recommendations at its April 2021 meeting, and Santa Rosa Water has already begun integrating the practices identified through the project into its outreach strategy, and further deepening and developing its partnerships with local community groups. Engaging Latinx communities will help Santa Rosa Water ensure equity within the city, enabling all of its residents to take advantage of water efficiency programs and water and cost savings. This project also supports the increasing urgency of conserving water in the face of climate change, as well as Santa Rosa’s efforts to comply with California legislation around water use.
(photo credit: “Annadel State Park” by DBerry2006 is licensed under CC BY 2.0)