The LCRA-SAWS Water Project needed to win public support for a $2.8 billion water-sharing proposal that would be among the largest water initiatives in the U.S. and involve at least six years of feasibility studies and. LCRA and the San Antonio Water System knew the project would require community support from the lower Colorado River basin, where the off-channel reservoir would be built and rice farmers would have to conserve irrigation water. The goal was to win support through systematic communications about the feasibility studies and routine opportunities for two-way communications.
LRPR helped plan and hold nearly 150 public meetings and stakeholder workgroups over five years. More than 60 communications materials were developed to explain the project and get feedback from members of the public. These materials included an electronic newsletter, presentations, talking points, website content, surveys, direct mail (postal and electronic) pieces, news releases, videos and handouts.
The number of interested citizens and organizations soared some 400% to more than 1,200 over the five-year period.
It is expected that systematic public input in the early stages of the program will enable the technical studies to proceed more speedily in the later stages.