City of Santa Ana

Deepening drought conditions in California called for Governor Brown to issue the first-ever statewide mandate requiring water utilities and agencies to slash water use by 25% and increase enforcement to prevent wasteful water use. The City of Santa Ana Water Resources Division needed to quickly educate residents and businesses about its new city-wide water use restrictions and urge them to do their part to conserve water. Effectively communicating the need for water conservation and a permanent lifestyle change in water efficiency was a significant task, given that the Santa Ana is a major metropolitan area with nearly 350,000 residents, of which 78% are Hispanic.

Straightline Communications developed and executed an integrated, multi-language campaign entitled “Every Drop Counts: Let’s Not Waste It.” We launched the campaign at a Water Forum held at the Santa Ana City Council Chambers, which brought together City officials with residents. The campaign included outdoor advertising, street pole banners lining main thoroughfares, and pull-up banners for public areas and events, printed flyers and bill inserts. We also designed a vehicle wrap for the Water Resources Division’s community outreach van with campaign branding and designed campaign t-shirts and yard signs to pass out to residents at the 100+ community events the division staff attended throughout the year. Each blog post, water saving tip, how-to article and announcement was consistently pushed out over multiple channels including local press, Twitter, Facebook, the City website, electronic and print newsletter as well as other collateral material. Key to the success of the campaign was a campaign steering committee comprised of representatives from various city departments and agencies to:

  • build collaboration and support for the campaign,
  • leverage internal resources, and
  • increase communication.

Campaign Items

“Every Drop Counts: Let’s Not Waste It” made a significant difference in awareness and residents took the conservation message to heart. The Santa Ana community reduced its water consumption, exceeding its 12% target and cutting water use by 17%. The City of Santa Ana rated below the state average in residential gallons per capita, and, with the exception of City of Fountain Valley, came in lower than all other water districts nearby. Santa Ana’s campaign was selected among all other utilities in its size category as the most innovative and effective community program designed to save water resources by the California Municipal Utilities Association (CMUA).