Award-Winning Campaign Success Through Partnerships
Case-Study: KRCD’s Bottled Water Delivery Program Campaign

Written by Cristel Tufenkjian, Director of External Affairs, Kings River Conservation District

Public agency communication professionals continually look for strategies to stretch our limited budgets and staff to support the goals of our agencies, whether it is encouraging water use reduction or delivering public safety education. The Kings River Conservation District (KRCD) recently received the Association of California Water Agencies Huell Howser Excellence in Communications Award. It was an honor to be chosen for this prestigious award for our Bottled Water Delivery Program Campaign. One of the successful strategies for this campaign was the creative partnerships we fostered to stretch our resources and amplify outreach.


Nitrate is a constituent contaminating wells that can cause negative human health impacts. In 2019, the State Water Resources Control Board adopted the Nitrate Control Program requiring short- and long-term solutions for this contaminant. This program involved the creation of new entities to provide safe drinking water solutions to rural residents. Kings River Conservation District provides outreach services to one of these new entities, the Kings Water Alliance. Formed in 2021, the KWA’s purpose is to improve the quality of life for rural residents by achieving the adoption of safe drinking water solutions by residents with nitrate-contamination above safe drinking water standards.

Think Win-Win

The campaign goal for the Bottled Water Delivery Program was to build a level of awareness and trust with rural residents to take action and participate in a survey to determine if they were eligible for free bottled water delivery. A priority tactic to accomplish this goal was to participate in community events to give our agency and program visibility and create trust through direct interactions with residents; however, limited staff and a large service area made accomplishing this tactic daunting.

To overcome these constraints, we established new outreach partnerships. For staffing support, we connected with California State University, Fresno to launch a volunteer program. Through this partnership, we recruited several Fresno State students to attend community events and promote our program. During the students’ training session, an additional unique partnership was formed with Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability. We utilized their expertise in community outreach to provide the students with tips and best practices for interacting with rural residents. This partnership was a win-win opportunity, giving us staffing support and providing community service hours for the students.

Find the Fit

One of the more difficult barriers for us to overcome was that the agency providing the water delivery program services was newly formed and unknown. Although the Bottled Water Delivery Program was at no cost to residents and provided them with clean, safe drinking water, it was difficult to engage residents to participate because of the lack of trust with this newly formed agency.

One of the strategies to overcome this barrier was to build trust between rural residents and this new agency by associating our outreach with known, local organizations. One of these entities, the Central California Food Bank, was a well-established, community organization that provided services to many rural residents in our service area. A relationship was established with the Food Bank allowing us to integrate our outreach with their events and distribution channels. Our staff and volunteers attended many Food Bank events promoting our Bottled Water Delivery Program. We also were allowed to distribute our promotional flyers via their delivery trucks. A bonus to this partnership was the additional connections that were made. It became a snowball effect as each new group we met connected us to another.

Pursue Partnerships

Fresno State and the Central California Food Bank are just two key partnerships KRCD formed during our campaign. As public agencies, we each have specific communities and stakeholders we need to reach. Be creative and think about those partnerships that can work best for your campaign, find the common ground, and pursue new connections. Partnerships align shared values and goals allowing you to work together to improve the quality of life for your residents.

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