A New Los Angeles County Collaboration Washes Away Bloodthirsty Mosquitoes and Water Wasting Behavior
By San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District and Walnut Valley Water District
In the midst of a stay-at-home winter, two local agencies created a buzz with a new resource for residents of San Gabriel Valley, a region located in Los Angeles County.
The two agencies, the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito and Vector Control District (SGVMVCD) and Walnut Valley Water District (WVWD), were worlds apart, but came together to create Los Angeles County’s first webinar series that blends public health with water conservation.
The webinar series, “Be Water Wise and Bite Free,” teaches residents how to conserve water around their properties and prevent pesky mosquito problems -- all from the safety of their homes.
“Walnut Valley Water District is committed to providing its customers with free educational resources to enhance water use efficiency and promote public health. Together with SGVMVCD, we’re able to offer our residents a free webinar series that promotes water conservation and mosquito prevention actions,” said WVWD Management Analyst Jillian Keller.
The Threat and Opportunity
With the rapid spread of COVID-19, the ability of traditionally educating residents in-person came to a screeching halt.
“We normally participate in 120 community events and school visits from spring to fall,” said SGVMVCD Public Information Officer Levy Sun. “When cities, districts, and other organizers canceled the year’s events to protect public health, we faced an educational drought.”
Providing quality education to the public quickly switched to a digital format.
“With in-person classes and events on hold during the pandemic, collaborating with SGVMVCD on a webinar series created the perfect outlet for our agencies to share important messages with the public,” said Keller.
Both special districts jumped on the opportunity as they collaborated. Going virtual allowed the collaborative webinar to give examples of increased instances of water misuse on residential properties and address the fact that more people are exposed to disease-spreading mosquitoes.
“The world of water and mosquitoes is deeply intertwined in our Los Angeles County neighborhoods,” said Sun. “It only makes sense that mosquito control and Walnut Valley Water District collaborate.”
While enthusiasm was high, there were some administrative and logistical processes to solidify. There were logistics to overcome during the collaboration process. The two districts immediately set up a timeline of due dates to stay on track. An outline was created that included specific topics each district would teach residents.
“Since this was the first major design and production project, so most of the work was in the preparation,” said Sun. “Honestly, this made post-production edits and promotion much easier.”
Then came the challenge of file sharing large, 4k video clips, images, and b-roll. Using online file transfer services, each special district shot, edited, and shared their respective presentations. A small team did the final edits. Fortunately, the timeline built in plenty of time for approval in case there were COVID-19 impacts on staffing.
Since residents were spending the majority of their time at home, they noticed water conservancy and mosquito safety related issues around their community.
“WVWD was excited to partner with SGVMVCD to help bridge the gap in knowledge between smart water conservation practices and public health," said WVWD General Manager Erik Hitchman. "Last winter, we encouraged our customers to apply water efficient practices for direct water savings in and around their home and to help safeguard against the rise of mosquitoes in our service area."
The pandemic altogether switched many education initiatives to digital formats and in following the educational trend, both districts coordinated two videos into one with a Winter release date.
“Winter was the perfect time to be bite free and water wise,” said Levy Sun, SGVMVCD public information officer. “Now, both of our special districts are building on our success to continue our efforts to educate residents about the public health impacts of wasting water.”
With the help of a couple of green screens and a secret agent guest appearance, the webinar produced more than 10,000 combined views. It is no surprise that this dynamic district duo will continue their virtual efforts in creating a summer episode to publish late June 2021.
“In the upcoming summer series, we’re hoping to teach our residents about how mosquitoes are ruining our outdoor fun, how our watering practices can produce more mosquitoes, how to sign up for conservation programs, and about smart irrigation practices that can keep you more bite-free,” said Keller.
Episodes of “Be Water Wise and Bite Free” are hosted at www.wvwd.com/classes-and-workshops.