Chances are there are at least two-three volunteers in your Chapter or local membership who are interested in engaging on Know Your H2O issues. After all, KYH2O is central to surfrider’s mission and is all about preventing pollution from reaching the ocean. Sometimes it is more about having the right opportunities for the right individuals to engage, rather than adding more work onto already taxed volunteers. Furthermore, if you don’t choose KYH2O chances are at some point it will choose you, so it is best to become familiar with these concepts and be prepared.
Look for two-three volunteers who are interested in these issues to form a committee, they might set up calls or meet outside of normal chapter and Executive Committee (EC) meetings. It is also good to identify volunteers within the network who have water management experience, these folks are often drawn to Surfrider and are worth their weight in gold when it comes to working these issues. Even if your volunteers have no experience, with our mission in mind, it is amazing how much one can learn along the way just by getting involved in local water management.
The first thing the KYH2O committee should do is to set up Google alerts, a free service that will email you once daily with news relating to your designated key words. We recommend setting up a Google alert for the words “water+ your city’s name”, also any other key terms that are relevant to your area such as desalination, stormwater, or potable reuse etc.
BC Water News is another great resource, the daily newsletter containing all relevant water news articles is pretty California centric, but there is a section on National and International water news. If you live outside of California, perhaps you can find a similar newsletter in your area. Click here to sign up for a free daily subscription if you are interested.
To get started you might want to comment on articles online having to do with KYH2O issues, either expressing your support for innovative ideas, or suggestions on how to make traditional ideas more integrated, or how to achieve multiple benefits. It is important to remember to post comments online as yourself; you can state you are a Surfrider activist or member, but you can’t state Surfrider “stance” on an issue without Executive Committee approval. For questions on how to get started or understanding Surfrider’s stance, please reach out to Joe Geever Know Your H2O Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or Julia Chunn-Heer at email@example.com.
Your committee may also want to review existing planning documents such as your city’s “Long Range Water Resources Plan” or the “Urban Water Management Plan”. The names of documents might vary a bit from State to State, but most of them can be found on your water agency or City website. Also, the executive summary is usually enough to help you get your feet wet. These documents are updated every five years, so engaging in the update process and providing comments on the draft update is a great way to help ensure your City is being visionary and moving toward integrated water management. For a case study on reviewing documents like this click here.