Water Equity Clearinghouse

Capital Region Water

Harrisburg, PA

Capital Region Water (CRW) is the wastewater utility serving the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania area, providing eight million gallons of drinking water to 60,000 customers, sewer collection and stormwater management for 50,000, and wastewater treatment for 120,000 residents and businesses each day. The utility’s Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility is one of the largest in the region. CRW’s service area includes the City of Harrisburg and the surrounding townships of Susquehanna, Swatara, Lower Paxton, Paxtang, Penbrook, and Steelton.

Capital Region Water has implemented a highly successful project, City Beautiful H2O, with the help of its Community Ambassador Program. This was the largest project CRW has ever conducted and involved more residents and community organizations than any prior campaign. CRW deployed ambassadors to help engage and educate thousands of residents about the utility’s initiative to reduce combined sewer overflows (something the utility is addressing under a Partial Consent Decree with the US Department of Justice, the EPA, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection) and construct green spaces to enhance the surrounding areas.

CRW invested in an 18-month planning process in partnership with Harrisburg communities, the city, key municipal agencies, businesses, and nonprofits, from the ground floor of planning through implementation. The Community Ambassadors helped gather feedback on public engagement strategies, prioritization criteria, program design and recommendations, and project implementation. The Ambassadors were 18 local community leaders and advocates who, representing neighborhoods throughout Harrisburg, were instrumental in strategizing community engagement, connecting with local neighborhoods, residents and leaders, and capacity building. They empowered residents, encouraged peer-to-peer neighborhood outreach and discussions, and supported face-to-face interaction and feedback. During the campaign, Ambassadors met monthly to discuss activities, and issues, and provide feedback on City Beautiful H2O planning efforts. Their work with CRW on the Community Greening Plan and projects is ongoing.

Geographic Scale:
Type of Organization:
Pillar 1
Pillar 2
Vulnerable Populations Served:
Communities of Color
Lower-income Communities
Approach to Advancing Water Equity:
Capacity Building/Education
Community Organizing