Commonwealth Journal

February 3, 2012

Western Pulaski Water could communicate better

Commonwealth Journal

— Dear Editor:

Last weekend, residents of Pulaski County who have “city water” were affected by the countywide boil water advisory.  This was the first time I can remember the entire county being under such an advisory.  When the accident occurred at the City Water plant last Thursday afternoon, print and broadcast media serving Pulaski County were advised.  

Getting the word out is critically important to the public.  After required tests indicated the water was safe for consumption, notification was given to Somerset residents and businesses they were good to go with the water.  The purpose of this letter is not to complain about the various and sundry reasons why the Western Pulaski Water District was the only District still under a “boil water advisory” as of Tuesday, rather it is all about the communication between this Water District and their customers.

(Editor’s ’Note: The advisory was lifted Wednesday).

It isn’t an isolated instance when we are without potable drinking water…it happens frequently.  Last month when we were without water, I called and inquired how we would know when the water would be safe for consumption.   I received the standard answer, “we put it on the radio”.  

My contention is that perhaps 20 years ago, that would have been perfectly sufficient.  However today, there are many more ways to notify consumers.  If there is a tornado approaching, we get a phone alert which is very effective.   The technology exists, and is readily available to hit a “send” button and contact every water customer instantly about water issues.  This can be done via phone, text messages and/or email at very little cost.  

     I understand Water Board members are paid for each meeting they attend.  Perhaps that money could better be used to set up a website for customers to access, or purchase the equipment necessary to have automated calls or messages.  Of course, the most important factor is putting the customers first, and really caring about whether or not they, the customers know what is going on.   

David A. Wiles

Shady Grove