Water Conservation Can Be Smart AND Sexy
On January 31, 2014, the SFPUC asked its customers to voluntarily curtail water consumption by 10%. To facilitate achieving this goal, the SFPUC Communications Division developed and launched a multi-lingual and edgy public education campaign that successfully promoted water conservation through behavioral changes and plumbing upgrades for residents and businesses.
With 2013 being the driest year on record in California and no relief in sight, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) in January 2014 asked its customers to voluntarily reduce their water use by 10%.
We’re proud that the 2.6 million people that rely on our Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System carry a strong conservation and environmental ethos. In San Francisco, residents use a miserly 49 gallons per person per day, one of the lowest in entire state, and 50% of the national average. These low use numbers, however, make achieving additional water savings even more challenging.
We needed a creative campaign that would provoke thought, encourage conversation, and inspire immediate action. In June 2014, the SFPUC Communications Division launched the “Water Conservation is Smart and Sexy” campaign that was featured on television, newspapers, buses, outdoor billboards and online.
The summer campaign from June-August had 3 goals:
- Increased utilization of water conservation programs and rebates;
- Consistent behavioral change; and,
- Increased awareness of the drought and region’s water supply.
Commercial featured on TV and Youtube. The SFPUC developed the concept, script, and even provided the voice over talent! Credit to the City’s SFGov TV team for the video shoot and production.
How did we do? Thanks to our campaign we’ve exceeded our 10% conservation goal!
Conservation and drought preparedness are not “quickies” and are the new normal in California. If we are not vigilant and consistent with our education, even the savings we gained this summer can quickly evaporate. Our reduced demand and wiser water use is here to stay.
As public agencies, we need to be even more innovative and unafraid to take chances. Our messages to protect and enhance our public safety, health, education, environment, and economy are some of the most important ones the public should pay attention to. I think the success of the “Water is Sexy and Smart Campaign” is a turning point and hopefully challenges others to think outside the box.
By harnessing the creative talent and innovation of your team, we have dared to create provocative campaigns that will capture the interest of our audience.
I promise by “Doing It” you’ll be amazingly “Satisfied” with the results.
The campaigns also ran in Spanish and Chinese to reach San Francisco’s diverse communities.
Leave your comment below, or reply to others.
Read more from the Meeting of the Minds Blog
Spotlighting innovations in urban sustainability and connected technology
MaaS has a lot to offer to public transit and it’s time to take a closer look at those benefits. Contrary to a common misconception, integration of third-party transit services into the wider public mobility offering doesn’t hurt transit, it actually encourages wider use of public transit, maintaining and even actively increasing ridership. Alternative transit services can address first/last mile problems as well as serve routes that are typically very costly and require a high level of government subsidy (e.g. paratransit), not only increasing revenues for transit agencies but also helping to direct funding and investment back to core transit services.
From June 26th to 28th 2018, urban transport and development practitioners, activists, and researchers from cities around the world convened in Dar es Salaam for the 3rd annual ITDP Mobilize summit. Themed “Making space for mobility in booming cities,” the event...
It is no surprise to those of us in the walking advocacy world that making bus stops accessible and linked to neighborhood sidewalks can increase bus ridership and reduce the number of para-transit trips that are called for. This is a logical outcome of thinking about how people make real life choices about how to get around. What this research demonstrates is an amazing win-win-win for walking and transit advocates. It shows how we can shift trips from autos to transit; give more people more independence by making it possible for them to use regular bus service rather than setting up special, scheduled para-transit trips (some of which require appointments to be made at least 24 hours in advance and only for specified purposes); and save money for transit systems over the long run.