Water Safety is a critical environmental health issue that is necessary to ensure the safety of individuals, families, and communities, and to eliminate health disparities and change public health practice. Two out of every five Americans rate their quality of water as poor. A government report shows that within the next 10 years, at least 36 states will face water shortages.

NACCHO partnered with George Washington University and the Association of Occupational and Environmental Health Clinics to provide a framework for partnerships among water utilities, local health departments (LHDs), and medical communities. This two-year effort was designed to increase knowledge of the key elements for successful communication collaborations.

Water utilities, LHDs, and the medical community learned to pool their resources to address emergent threats to drinking water supplies. Funded by a grant from the American Water Works Association Research Foundation, the program outlined the components of an effective communication strategy.

This framework established communication protocols for swift response to waterborne illness outbreaks and water security threats. The framework ensures consistent and accurate risk communication, including:

  • An established partnership for responding to emerging regulatory issues;
  • A reliable, consistent response to real or perceived water quality concerns; and
  • An accurate, rapid response system to emerging water quality issues.

The tools developed during this effort include a field-tested Framework for Action, along with case studies and training materials available in a handbook and CD-ROM.

The following policy statements demonstrate NACCHO's commitment to water safety at the local level.

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