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case study

How a Statewide Water Agency Association Gained a Powerful New Website at a Critical Time

Representing 460 public water agencies, the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) has been instrumental to the state’s water policy for over 100 years. Its member agencies are responsible for 90% of the water delivered to the state’s population. They depend on ACWA for leadership and advocacy in support of delivering and maintaining a reliable, sustainable water supply.

Sharing information and facilitating cooperation between agencies, policymakers, and the water industry is critical to ACWA’s success. But with the state weathering an ongoing drought, the organization’s most vital communication resource — the ACWA website — had fallen behind.

Outdated and bogged down with legacy content, the website limited ACWA’s ability to connect with its audience and stakeholders. So we revamped the design, functionality, and its CMS to create a platform as vital as the organization’s mission.

Here’s how we did it.

client Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA)


Lisa Lien-Mager Former Director of Communications, ACWA

The Position Interactive team helped focus our vision, and found creative ways to meet our strategic goals. This is a solution-oriented team that is a pleasure to work with.”


increase in website users

A More Inviting Digital Presentation Aligned with the Organization’s Goals

Launched in 2010, ACWA’s website had an abundance of content, but it was difficult for anyone to consume that content. A poor design and cumbersome navigation hampered the site’s usability as members struggled to find what they needed as years of outdated articles weighed down performance and convoluted search results. With key resources hidden behind a paywall, one of the biggest benefits of membership was hidden from potential members.

We redesigned ACWA’s website to address critical needs that included:

Storytelling – We furthered ACWA’s marketing, communications, and outreach by prioritizing storytelling, visuals, and showcasing more relevant content on the homepage and key influential pages.

Highlight membership value – With previews of member-only content and a lock icon indicating restricted content, ACWA’s new site highlights the organization’s resources and the value of membership. A member dashboard brings the benefits of membership front and center, with clear pathways for members to identify and utilize each. An action center brings important calls to action front and center, driving advocacy efforts.

Content management – The new site search and an auto-archiving system enabled ACWA to automatically clear out old content while providing an efficient way to find and consume resources. We also instituted role-specific logins for ACWA staff, committee, and board members to streamline access to relevant resources and content publication. The streamlined CMS allows ACWA’s team to publish site updates easily and without fear of breaking the design.

Data Integration – We integrated ACWA’s new WordPress site with their Association Management System (AMS) to incorporate relevant data throughout the site. Examples include a robust member directory as well as a Single Sign-On (SSO) integration to deliver a custom user experience that elevates content specific to members, committee members, and board members.

Cutting out repetitive tasks – Rather than cutting-and-pasting content to create each newsletter, ACWA’s team quickly produces and distributes newsletters with a few clicks using resources already published on the website. Additionally, the site has grown richer with more self-serve opportunities for members. They can now submit and buy classified ads, post job listings, and submit news items for ACWA approval before publication.

A Member Site With 119% More Users and a 71% Increase in Sessions

Websites that are difficult to maintain become self-fulfilling prophecies. The more internal teams dread the time required to produce and manage content, the worse the site inevitably becomes. 

With a robust, easy-to-use website, ACWA’s team is more invested in its ongoing success. Plus, the organization and its members benefit from an improved capacity to distribute timely information and updates about water issues. ACWA can better tell its story and the story of its members to policymakers, the media, and the general public.

Since the site relaunched, ACWA has formed a stronger, more engaging connection with its audience. Overall traffic is up nearly 120%, and repeat usage has increased with 71% more sessions. At a time when California is in dire need of critical information about water issues, ACWA and its members have a powerful new resource at their fingertips for years to come.

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