WaterNow is partnering with Wake County to develop an equitable outreach and engagement strategy for a two-year pilot program that provides financial assistance to repair wells or onsite wastewater systems for eligible low-income and elderly community members. This outreach framework will seek to ensure that vulnerable and under-resourced communities are represented and supported through this pilot program, and to lay the foundation for engagement around the County’s future One Water initiatives.
Within Wake County, approximately 150,000 residents are served by more than 40,000 private drinking water wells and 240,000 residents are served by approximately 90,000 on-site wastewater systems. Among residents served by these systems, well contamination and on-site wastewater system failures present health risks, and high costs can discourage residents from making repairs. Comparison of economic indicators to rates of reliance on private wells show that large proportions of people rely on private wells and septic systems in some of the most economically challenged areas of Wake County. To address these challenges, Wake County has launched a two-year pilot program that provides financial assistance to repair wells or onsite wastewater systems for eligible low-income and elderly community members.
In this project, WaterNow and Wake County are working together to develop an outreach and engagement strategy that helps ensure that the program’s target audience of low-income and elderly homeowners are aware of and able to participate in this pilot program. The project will research and interview programs and utilities that have developed successful outreach strategies focused on hard-to-reach customers, in order to identify best practices and actionable strategies to inform this effort. The team will work with local stakeholders and community members to develop and refine strategies for building awareness of and participation in the pilot program. A final outreach and engagement plan will support the uptake of this pilot project, and identify practices to support Wake County’s wider suite of One Water programming.
Stay tuned! This project is currently underway.