OPARC Program wins Huell Howser Best in Blue Award
Rowland Heights, CA (November 30, 2017) – Rowland Water District’s (RWD) OPARC program was recognized for achieving communications excellence by the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) at its 2017 Fall Conference and Exhibition in Anaheim.
RWD received the Huell Howser Best in Blue Award on Nov. 29, 2017 at the conference for its OPARC Fire Hydrant Maintenance Program.
The first-of-its-kind community outreach effort, employing adults with disabilities to paint fire hydrants, launched in January 2016, in partnership with OPARC, a non-profit organization that facilitates meaningful employment opportunities for adults with disabilities in Southern California.
“This program inspired our District, our community and our region,” said Rowland Water District General Manager Tom Coleman. “We are humbled to be honored with this prestigious award.”
Four special needs employees were selected by the OPARC organization to be a part of Rowland’s work force. They were paid $15.00 per hour, more than twice the amount they would otherwise receive from government subsidies. In just one year, the four participants repainted more than 1,000 hydrants.
The program helped the District meet some of its key communication goals and initiatives such as broadening the definition of community through additional outreach, prioritizing opportunities that benefit all partners, and creating internal messaging that enhances staff morale and experiences.
“The District saw this as an opportunity to inspire the community and share the value of water, but also directly and positively enhance the lives of individuals with special needs,” said Rowland Water District Board President Szu Pei Lu-Yang.
The Huell Howser Best in Blue Award honors outstanding communications achievements by public water agencies from across California. Winning projects and programs have measurable impact and reflect their agency’s outreach goals while using available resources efficiently and responsibly.
More information about the award and program can be found on Rowland Water District’s website at www.rowlandwater.com.
About Rowland Water District
Rowland Water District was formed more than 60 years ago to provide water service to 200 ranchers and farmers in a rural, agricultural community. Over the years, the District has evolved to meet the changing needs of a dynamic and rapidly growing customer base. Rowland Water currently delivers 14 million gallons of safe drinking water to about 55,000 people every day. The District maintains 150 miles of potable water pipeline and 25 miles of recycled water pipeline to serve 13,500 customer connections across 17.2 square miles in southeast Los Angeles County, including portions of Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, La Puente, and the cities of Industry and West Covina.