On Monday May 4th, Miya Water, a world leader in water management efficiency, in partnership with the Caribbean Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA), organised a webinar to discuss how the Caribbean countries, and particularly the water industry, are weathering the challenges of COVID-19. The webinar, directed towards water and wastewater personnel operating in the utility sector, was followed live by more than 140 people and had more than 1,760 views on YouTube in less than 24 hours, with more than 4 million impressions on Twitter.
Stuart Hamilton, Chair of IWA’s Water Loss Specialist Group (WLSG), was the first presenter, addressing the audience from the United Kingdom. He outlined how the world is working in the non-revenue water (NRW) arena, and also described how water companies in several countries are coping with the pandemic, namely the UK, Portugal, Australia, China, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Greece and Malaysia. Although water company staff are considered essential workers in most countries, in some of them, like the Philippines and Malaysia, they are not, so repairs in the field have to wait until the lock down is over. Water companies can expect decreased revenues, but that should not mean rehabilitation programmes are to stop, forcing an intermittent supply regime: “We have to go forward because we can make the company vulnerable to the next COVID, to the next pandemic”. “We prepare ourselves through NWR reduction and all the other elements within the water company”, he noted, saying this is a worldwide issue. He then proposed thinking outside the box to search for solutions.