COMMUNITY SUPPORT: LOCAL WATER RESOURCE PROTECTION LAW
The first step in preparing a local water resources protection law is to build a community of support for it. How will you bring your message to residents?
Avoid using meetings as your sole means of reaching the public; people are busy. You increase your chances of making connections if you make it easy for them to receive your information. Use social media, tables at public events, short written materials (one or two pages, with pictures).
When you do have a meeting, invite community leaders, local officials and others who can affect the passage of the law. Anticipate questions and concerns. Ask people what they value about local water resources, and what they want those resources to look like in 20 years.
- What’s the cost of not protecting water– in dollars as well as in lost ecosystem services and benefits?
- Address objections up front, including the property rights issue. Take charge of the discussion.
Everyone has a right to clean water. We share the resource.
Local water protection consists of three parts that work together:
Science: cause and predictable effect
Water resource protection that is not based on science is arbitrary. The science behind ecosystems and watersheds and how they are affected by human actions validates the need for water resource protection regulations.
Science gives you a foundation for credibility.
Local Government: providing structure
Local government provides the structure for setting up and enforcing a water resource protection law.
Community: water is ‘ours’
Local protection laws are designed to protect water resources so that residents and future generations can continue to enjoy their benefits.