The Santa Clara Valley Water District recently took a big sip forward to win over the minds – and taste buds – of the Asian-American community to the idea of purified water as a viable drinking water source.
More than 250 people attended the first Asian Community Day and Open House at the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center. To draw so many from that community demonstrates a willingness to give the product a chance, a not-so-easy task given potential deeply ingrained cultural and political views about recycled water use. But after a tour to see purification technology up close and a chance to sample a 6-ounce glass of water treated at the center, patrons walked away with a better understanding of the water’s treatment and purification process.
“I was hesitant at first, but after seeing the process for what it takes to make it safe to drink, and actually trying it, I would drink it again. It’s fabulous,” said attendee Julie Hubbard.
Organizers carefully crafted the tour to cater to its multi-cultural audience, developing informational materials in Chinese and Vietnamese and providing translators for each tour. The district’s award-winning educational program presented water-based lessons and activities for children and the agency highlighted its groundwater management, water conservation and Adopt-A-Creek programs.
“It is not an easy stigma to overcome, but this kind of event will help,” said Lei Hong, Utility Operations and Maintenance manager at the Santa Clara Valley Water District. “Even my mother, who was a bit reluctant to drink tap water, after the tour, she was actually convinced. With such advanced technology, she had a much higher confidence in the water quality that we have here.”
Two of the water district’s directors, Nai Hsueh, District 5 representative, and Richard P. Santos, board vice-chair and District 3 representative, welcomed each attendee group before their tours.
This was the second multi-cultural event at the center in as many years for the water district. In 2016, it hosted 60 families from the nonprofit Somos Mayfair during the Latino Community Tour Day.
“People appreciate when we provide these kinds of opportunities to come and see the purification center,” said Hong. “I think that with this effort, that’s how we can continue reinforcing this message and confidence in people. I think we’re on a good track to try and bring people over.”
The water district provides regular tours of the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center. To schedule a tour, contact firstname.lastname@example.org