Earlier this month our CEO and President, Susan Story, had an opportunity with Fox Business Network to discuss, on air, a few of the most critical water issues the U.S. is facing today. She’d have five minutes to cover three of the most complex and important issues: water infrastructure, water quality and the impact of climate on our water sources and supply. American Water firmly believes in our responsibility to educate our communities on the issues. It doesn’t matter if we’re giving a two-hour seminar or a 60-second interview, any degree of knowledge we can impart improves the future of water. Moreover, Fox Business would deliver a large audience of people who care about—and can act as influencers in—advancing our mission.
It turned out that quite a lot of information was conveyed during the 6 minutes and 14 second interview. Moreover, as we watched the interaction between Susan and the reporters, members of our team gained additional insights. The interview reinforced to us that people care about the issues, the media cares about the issues and more information needs to be shared. This last point was made perfectly clear in the final few words of the interview, when Maria Bartiromo said, “This is a story we don’t focus on enough, and it’s important to us all.”
Just as exciting for us, however, were the “giveaways”—all the topics that were covered and information Susan shared during those six minutes. With the journalists’ preparation and on-screen graphics, the interview wasn’t filled with quick hits on “safe” topics. Instead, the time was used strategically in order to provide substantive answers that educated and resonated with viewers. Here’s an overview of topics and key points covered:
- Supply vs. demand. The stage was set to discuss water in terms of it being our most critical resource, before the interview covered current challenges such as drought, water loss and the need for more conservation efforts.
- Water quality. The group discussed water contaminates, innovations and processes at work, to not only address quality issues we know of but to also stay one step ahead of emerging contaminates.
- Infrastructure. Statistics were shared to demonstrate the dire situation of our water infrastructure, including that 44 percent of all U.S. water infrastructure is near the end of its life or failing.
- Investment. To further illustrate some key needs for infrastructure, Susan explained how American Water is deploying our $7.3 billion investment in infrastructure over the next five years.
- The role of climate change. American Water’s responsibility as a water advocate isn’t to get into the argument of the cause of climate change, but to focus on building the resiliency of our assets in the face of severe storms, drought, etc.
- Policy changes and their implications. This discussion allowed focused on the roles of federal, state and municipal governments in addressing water concerns.
At the end of the day, this interview was as powerful an experience for American Water as we hope it was for the Fox Business Network and its viewers. Please view Susan’s interview on FOX Business here, and share your comments below.