As always, it was good to re-connect with friends and colleagues from around the country at this year’s Water Quality Association (WQA) conference in Orlando. While it was certainly an easy drive from my South Florida home, I always make it a point to go to WQA because I feel the Association has something to offer me both in my work and as a consumer.

While the WQA has made great strides within the industry in terms of continuing education for members and providing professional and product certification, I think that WQA needs to refocus some of its attention on elevating the industry in the eyes of the consumer.

No one outside of our industry knows who the Water Quality Association is … and probably doesn’t even care. But the high profile of water quality in both national and international news offers the WQA, and its members, many opportunities.

For example, this year, National Drinking Water Week is May 4-10. National Drinking Water Week is “sponsored” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has a section about National Drinking Water week on its website with lots of consumer information, which they brand as WaterSense. A quick tour of the website offers the consumer lots of information about water as a resource. In fact, the EPA Water on Tap booklet suggests that people have their water tested periodically and actually states: “A home water treatment unit can improve water’s taste, or provide a factor of safety for those people more vulnerable to waterborne disease.” The sensitive populations they are describing include pregnant women, the elderly, children and infants, and people with different ailments. The Water on Tap booklet even describes “Blue Baby Syndrome”, caused by excessive levels of nitrates and explains how reverse osmosis treatment units can remove those nitrates, along with other contaminants in the water. Wow, the EPA sounds like friends.

So, let’s co-sponsor National Drinking Water Week with the EPA and make it a huge week that highlights the benefits provided to the consumer by the water quality industry.

And, since the week is focused on consumers, this is an opportunity for water dealers to elevate their brand and become bigger than their individual dealerships by associating with this national initiative. This is a chance for dealers to raise awareness within their local communities. This also provides a unique opening to market water filtration units as part of the National Drinking Water Week initiative.

Since WQA is a membership organization, this is an opportunity for the WQA to provide its members with a real benefit: Marketing materials they can use to co-brand their dealerships with National Drinking Water Week, their membership in the Water Quality Association and the part they play to improve water quality in their communities.

It’s a win-win for the WQA, its members and for consumers.

Now that the 2014 WQA Conference is over, it’s time to look ahead to 2015 and consider Water Quality Awareness as a WQA national branding agenda.