Situation analysis: Drought and new state regulations have led cities across California to seek solutions to water reduction in both residential and commercial use. The City of El Centro has vast farm country and is in a desert area which may indicate that water conservation wouldn’t be a new topic. But, due to the Colorado river, water conservation hasn’t been an area of concern or interest to customers/residents of the area. Now with mandatory water reduction laws being implanted, El Centro needed a solution to educate and enforce the new codes. The water department had already created some messaging and information that was distributed to residents but the stormwater team was tasked with enforcing not only the conservation side but also the stormwater side of overwatering in residential neighborhoods. El Centro’s demographics are primarily English and Spanish speaking so incorporating both languages in the material was a requirement. The task was to incorporate a watering, stormwater and enforcement message and ‘system’ into an outreach piece.
Solution: considering a task force was in place for monitoring the watering regulations. A door hanger was designed with strategic information focused on simple education and careful wording regarding enforcement. The door hanger is in both English and Spanish and has a perforation that allows the city employee who sees the infraction, notify the resident of the home by leaving the door hanger on the door. The perforated section then is taken back to the city offices with the address and date of the infraction. It also allows the employee to mark whether the violation was due to watering on the wrong day, and/or overwatering (water running on concrete, driveway, side walk or off of property. Then, it can be recorded back at the city and tracked by how many violations a residence may have and what specifically they violated. The solution incorporated the stormwater and conservation education as well as the new statewide regulations and enforcement while offering readable outreach for both English and Spanish speaking residents.