Clear Choices Clean Water


We all make decisions every day that affect our water quality—and even the quantity—that’s in our streams, reservoirs, and wells.

How you maintain your yard and landscape, how long your showers are, even what you do with your dog’s poo…all of these things and more have an impact on our water, but you can help make a difference.


The Clear Choices Clean Water Program

Clear Choices is a nationally award-winning program that seeks to increase awareness about the daily choices we can make as individuals to improve water quality and conserve water supplies. Focused on individual action and social change, the program employs an online pledge system, interactive website at indiana.clearchoicescleanwater.org, and a variety of materials and media used to communicate program messages. This includes themed postcards and banner displays, radio promotions, TV commercials, billboards, materials for youth, and social media outreach. Significant social research and the application of current social marketing principles have guided the development of the Clear Choices program since its inception in 2009.

Nine topical campaigns comprise the current suite of clean water action pledges. The action pledges focus on specific water quality-friendly actions such as: using phosphorus-free and/or less fertilizer, landscaping with native plants, protecting pollinators, properly disposing of pet waste, properly maintaining septic systems, conserving water use, volunteering in community efforts, caring for soil health, not feeding waterfowl, stewarding trees, and a kid-focused pledge on making smart water choices.

Clear Choices has developed a reputation as a fun, engaging, easy, impactful outreach program. The results speak for themselves as the program sees more pledges each year and the increasing potential for preventing large amounts of pollution from reaching local waterways. Numerous metrics have been built into the program and are evaluated every year in an effort to make the program as responsive as possible.


FAQs

Besides pledging action, how else can I be involved in the efforts of Clear Choices?

Clear Choices has a variety of options for participation and partnership. Most simplistically, we welcome your promotion of the website and its messages – take a pledge and invite your friends or neighbors by email or social media. If you’d like to support our efforts financially, we welcome your charitable, tax-deduction contributions. Donations can be specifically directed to the purchase of materials or educational efforts. Finally, if you are part of an organization that would like to make use of the program’s materials or metrics, we have program license opportunities (learn more below). In Indiana, the Clear Choices program is licensed by official sponsors and has a growing network of supporters and local outreach partners. Clear Choices is also licensed to a number of national affiliates, who run the program under a unique domain name in their local regions. This allows for widespread cooperation, shared and leveraged resources, and a much bigger impact, thanks to the use common messages.

What sorts of organizations license Clear Choices?

Clear Choices was developed for a collective of cities and towns (MS4 entities) who decided to leverage their funds in order to create an education and outreach program whose impacts could be measured and used for permit reporting. Today, this group includes more than a dozen communities in central, as well as others in northern Indiana and several more in Ohio and Missouri who use the program to meet NPDES stormwater Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) 1 and 2.

Since 2009, the program has also been adopted by federal and state agencies, water utilities, and other nonprofit organizations as a way to spread their water-related messaging under a common call-to-action. Such groups include the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the Office of Indiana State Chemist, Citizens Energy Group, Indiana American Water, The Nature Conservancy, Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Hoosier Environmental Council, several SWCD chapters, as well as the Delaware Highlands Conservancy on the East Coast.

What is the benefit of the program licensees?

Reportable metrics are another key component of the Clear Choices program. This information is valuable to sponsors with stormwater permits who are required by law to deliver public education and involvement programs quantified by specific programmatic indicators.

If you are with a governmental entity or a nonprofit, you can use this information to measure program effectiveness, successful outreach strategies, areas of greatest interest and provide reportable data if needed for grants.

If you are a utility, business or other private enterprise, you can use this program to promote social and corporate responsibility, engage your customers, ratepayers, board, stockholders and employees, and reduce operating costs that increase your bottom-line.

Program metrics include:

  • Number of Impressions
  • Number of Pledges
  • Number of Web Site Hits
  • Pollution and Volume Reductions
  • Percent of Behavior Change
  • Number of Engaged Partners
  • Success of Various Outreach Methods
What does it cost to become an Indiana Sponsor or National Affiliate Licensee?

The cost of a two-year Clear Choices license varies depending on the population served by the licensed entity and how many pledge modules are part of the program.

Official licensees have access to all previously-developed outreach materials and bear only the cost of printing/production. The cooperative nature of the program also allows for licensees to have access to new materials that other sponsors or affiliates may create. The program’s structure and intent is to help sponsors and affiliates leverage each other’s creative contributions and dollars many times over.

Where can I learn more?

Check out our guidance document to learn more details about the program. If you would like to hear more about participation or partnership opportunities, please reach out to Jill at info@thewhiteriveralliance.org.