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Public Input Process, Questions, and Feedback
One of the primary goals of the 5-Year Water Conservation Plan (2020 Addendum) was to effectively collect public input about priorities and projects that the community would like to see in the next 5 years. This section of the report details the process used for the collection of public input, how that data was organized, how it has been incorporated into this plan, how input will continue to be collected, and how all that input – old and new – will continue to influence annual planning priorities for the WCO during the 5-Year planning period.
Five public meetings were held to collect input for this plan with the first meeting designed to provide information about the City of Santa Fe’s water operations – organizationally and in terms of water sources and delivery. Each of the following four meetings was intended to target a specific area of interest and to collect information on a specific topic: residential water use, commercial water use, climate change, and partnerships. Staff and WCC members had expected to draw a different crowd to each meeting based on individual areas of interest but most participants came to all of the meetings. Had this attendance pattern been better anticipated, the questions used in the sessions could have been designed differently.
The public input meetings were structured to collect public input and to facilitate discussion and development of ideas in small groups. WCO manager Christine Chavez designed the input process based on a consensus model learned at the New Mexico Land & Water Summit. The meetings were run by staff and WCC members with the intention of keeping things simple, providing transparency and direct access to City staff, and to help the WCO to develop replicable processes that staff could use to communicate with the public.
The meetings were arranged with a PowerPoint screen and projector on one side of the room and a series of tables with ~6 chairs at each. Each table had a moderator with a prepared envelope of materials including index cards and pens and copies of the questions that would be asked. As participants arrived at the meeting, they were met at the door by a WCO staff member and assigned to a table with the intention of distributing folks evenly to best facilitate discussion and to ensure that everyone had roughly the same amount of time to speak and to write comments.
Each meeting began with introductions from Christine Chavez, WCO manager, who would explain the process, introduce staff and WCC members. Two slides were used for each question: one slide with background information relevant to the question, and a second slide with the question plainly legible. Each of the tables would take a few minutes to write responses to the posted question and then – once everyone had time to compose thoughts and get them on paper – the facilitator at the table would ask each person at the table to discuss his/her thoughts and take time to make sure that all parties had time to speak. Comments could then be finalized and collected by the moderator, and Christine would then give some background for the next question.
Each meeting had four questions – including one question about the input process itself which was repeated at each meeting. Questions were designed to generate discussion and to solicit input targeted at areas where the 2020 Addendum would benefit from guidance. A complete list of the questions, as well as the answers solicited, is included as Exhibit D to this report.
In addition, comments were submitted online through the Save Water Santa Fe website, those comments are also included as Exhibit D.
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