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Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox

	The cover of the 3rd edition of the Drinking Water Communications Toolbox

The new edition of the Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox is now available!

Water systems and state or local agencies issue drinking water advisories when they believe water quality is or may be compromised. Advisories tell individuals, schools, hospitals, businesses, and others about the situation and how to take immediate action—to boil tap water before drinking, for example, or to avoid drinking or even using tap water.

What's in the Toolbox?

The Drinking Water Advisory Communication Toolbox provides information for water utilities on how to plan for, develop, implement, and evaluate communication activities with the public and stakeholders during drinking water notifications and advisories.

This toolbox includes instructions on how to prepare for communication activities before an incident, how to communicate during an incident, templates and tools to use, and recommendations for follow-up actions and assessments after an incident. The purpose of the toolbox is to enable water systems to communicate effectively with partners, stakeholders, and the public in the event of a drinking water advisory in order to protect public health.

Updated Edition

While the original purpose of the toolbox was to focus on communications related to drinking water advisories resulting from microbiological contamination, recent events—including chemical spills and increases in the incidence of harmful algal blooms (HABs)— demonstrated the need to cover other timely issues related to drinking water advisories.

To address these needs, the 2016 edition contains information regarding chemical contamination, toxin contamination, high rise buildings, and extreme weather events, as well as new fact sheets that provide specific guidance for various types of facilities (for example, childcare facilities and healthcare facilities). Additional flushing recommendations have also been included and will continue to be updated as more robust guidelines around flushing are developed in the future.

How to Use the Toolbox

The toolbox is currently available as a PDF document [PDF - 208 pages] that includes all content, tools, and templates.


  • A comprehensive website, with features to make finding, using, and customizing information quick and easy:
    • Book format with table of contents
    • Web pages optimized for easy printing with appropriate page breaks
    • More than 40 downloadable and customizable tools and templates in Microsoft Word format, including checklists, fact sheets, and press releases
    • Live links to online resources