DC Water Virtual Town Hall Meetings Draw Record Participation

Photo from Virtual Town Hall Meeting
July 17, 2020

DC Water completed its most successful series of town hall meetings this week, connecting with more customers than ever using an entirely virtual format. More than 4,100 people participated in the eight meetings held over the past month, far exceeding the total audience for town halls in past years.

“The pandemic forced us to change the way we engage with customers, but as it turns out going virtual allowed us to reach many more people than we had previously,” said DC Water CEO and General Manager David L. Gadis. “The participation was great and customers asked outstanding questions. As a result, I wouldn’t be surprised if we continue with this format in future years, even after the health emergency is over.”

DC Water holds the biannual town hall meetings to present the water authority’s proposed rates and fees for the next two years while allowing the public to provide feedback or raise other concerns. The meetings are co-hosted by the eight ward councilmembers and are typically held at locations across the city.

This year, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the meetings were held remotely for the safety of participants. DC Water utilized the Microsoft Teams online platform as well as a tele-townhall system that called customers and invited them to join the meeting in their ward. The vast majority of participants who completed a short survey said they preferred the virtual town halls over the traditional in-person meetings.

Any changes in rates must be approved by the DC Water Board of Directors and would take effect at the start of the new fiscal year on October 1. The Board will hold a public hearing on the proposed rates on Wednesday, August 5 at 6:30 pm. This meeting will also be held remotely.

If you would like present testimony, please call 202-787-2330 or email lmanley@dcwater.com no later than 5 pm on August 3. Please provide your name, address, telephone number and the name of your organization if you will be representing an organization.

More information about DC Water’s rate making process is available online at dcwater.com/ratemaking-process.