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Live coverage: Latest news on coronavirus and water industry

TUESDAY, MAY 26

Leading UK water bodies partner in support of the industry

In a first for the water industry, six of the UK’s leading water organisations have come together to support the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

World leaders call for action on water, sanitation and hygiene to prevent COVID-19

2 billion people without proper sanitation at high risk for coronavirus, finds study

More than 2 billion people in low- and middle-income nations have a greater likelihood of acquiring and transmitting the coronavirus than those in wealthy countries.

Detroit residents still lack running water in spite of measures to halt service shutoffs

Detroit residents whose water supply had been disconnected due to lack of payment should have seen their services resumed, but there are still families without running water. 

MONDAY, MAY 25

After the crisis is before the crisis – Why and how to plan comprehensive NRW reduction projects

Roland Liemberger, international expert in NRW planning, participated in a recent webinar with a presentation titled “After the crisis is before the crisis – Why and how to plan comprehensive NRW reduction projects”.

Researchers to comb wastewater for evidence of COVID-19 in Oregon, US

Researchers at Oregon State University will look in Bend’s sewer system for genetic evidence of the virus that causes COVID-19 in an effort to help determine the virus’ prevalence in the city.

Opinion article

COVID-19: watershed moment for digital transformation of water sector

It is difficult to overstate the challenges that COVID-19 poses for the water sector, from operational difficulties to acute financial shocks. But the pandemic also presents a long-term opportunity for the industry to rethink the status quo and embrace innovation. In particular, we see the crisis as a proving ground for digital water technologies, and a potential watershed moment for the digital transformation of the water sector.

Utilities that have already made digital investments are best positioned to cope with crisis

It is still early days, but the stories we’ve heard across the industry suggest that digital technologies have already played an invaluable role in helping utility workers remain connected to their critical assets, customers, and co-workers amid widespread lockdowns. In many cases, utilities which made robust investments before the crisis in digital monitoring and control capabilities – e.g. automation and optimization platforms, sensor and telemetry equipment, remote workforce and customer management tools – are faring better than those that did not.

Meanwhile, technologies that can be deployed rapidly to fill existing operational gaps have seen a boost in demand. According to a recent American Water Works Association survey, 74% of U.S. & Canadian utilities have implemented telework policies for non-field employees in response to the pandemic. Some utilities have asked as many as four-fifths of their staff to stay at home, necessitating significant investment in remote communication and productivity (e.g. laptops, teleconferencing platforms), online billing, and cybersecurity.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 20

Caribbean water operators response to the impact of COVID-19

Wayne Williams, Executive Director of the CWWA, introduced the webinar from Trinidad and Tobago​ and then spoke about ​Caribbean utilities, COVID-19 impact and responses. 

Make clean water for all a top global priority!

SIWI has joined other major organizations in a call to action demanding that governments across the world prioritize access to clean water for all.

U.S. water infrastructure bills move forward

Hydropower associations unite to set Covid-19 recovery pathway

16 international and national organisations representing the global hydropower sector set out guiding principles for energy infrastructure policy in the Covid-19 recovery.

The European sector of water supply and sanitation in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic

In Europe, the water sector represented by EurEau reacted quickly in the first days of the lock-down. In just hours, it organized a Covid-19 crisis committee with representation from each country, which in our case was through AEAS (the Spanish water national association). With this in mind, the idea that arose was to trace a path that would make simple what is complex, that would try to bring rationality to the actions, and that would not depend on chance, all with the greatest possible consensus.

As I have highlighted on other occasions, the 3 basic parameters of our management, public or private, are Quality, Continuity and Affordability, as water supply is an essential necessity for the entire population. The first aspect we made clear was the need to guarantee the safety of all employees and, at the same time, the obligation to ensure the provision of the service, maintaining our traditional and well-known vocation for service to society.

A dialogue was established with the corresponding European institutions, to convey that there are no health problems related to the supply of drinking water, nor to the sanitation of wastewater as current disinfection systems ensure an adequate level of protection against SARS-CoV-2. There is no risk either from the consumption of water or from its necessary activities (sampling in tanks and network, access to facilities, repairs, etc.). This coronavirus is very sensitive to disinfection processes, such as ozone, chlorine, UV radiation, alcoholic solutions and even ordinary soap; there are many efficient treatments to inactivate it.

TUESDAY, MAY 19

Caribbean Water Utilities: Covid-19 impact and responses

Christopher Husbands, General manager of Grenada’s National Water and Sewerage Authority (NAWASA) and President of the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association (CAWASA) presented a Caribbean perspective on water and wastewater. 

Wastewater may help predict the next COVID-19 outbreak

The global COVID-19 pandemic and a false sense of (water) security

In psychology, the Need for Drama (NFD) is described as a complex trait of poorly adaptive personalities who tend to manipulate others from a position of victimism. In social terms, it is interpreted as the tendency to propose catastrophes and apocalyptic thoughts to demand aid and encourage mass mobilization.

Yet, our selective reaction to different dramas is quite baffling indeed. The expansion of the outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) worldwide, illustrates one of the contemporary dramas that, in my view, is worth reflecting on: the relative loss of freedom in the name of increasingly demanding responses to preserve security.

MONDAY, MAY 18

Unflushable wipes lead to rise in sewer main blockages

SA Water has recorded a 29 per cent increase from March to April in the number of blockages within its 9000 kilometres of sewer mains across South Australia.

Miya donates 150 computers to families affected by Covid-19

AfDB joins Sanitation and Water for All’s global call to action for safe water amid COVID-19 crisis

Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) -  a global partnership of governments, donors, civil society organizations and other development partners has launched an international campaign to expand access to water, sanitation and hygiene.

Research on the novel coronavirus in wastewater: applications and knowledge needs

As the novel coronavirus outbreak hit country after country, and it became known that it could be shed in the faeces of some patients, research started to detect the novel coronavirus in wastewater.

THURSDAY, MAY 14

Xylem and UNICEF partner to provide COVID-19 relief and safe water for families

Xylem Watermark, the corporate citizenship program of global water technology company Xylem Inc., announced support for UNICEF’s COVID-19 relief efforts. 

Noam Komy (Miya): "Efficiency as a key component in resiliency"

The water sector’s response to COVID-19

As lockdowns were increasingly enforced, many governments identified people working in the water and sewerage industry as key workers. 

WEDNESDAY, MAY 13

Peter Herweck (Schneider Electric): “We need to rethink the approach to cybersecurity”

Digitalization is one of Schneider Electric’s hallmarks. A firm prepared for the abrupt changes brought on by the coronavirus pandemic in the water sector. We speak with Peter Herweck.

Strengthening preparedness for COVID-19 in cities and urban settings

Preparedness in cities and other urban settlements is critical for effective national, regional and global responses to COVID-19.

Feasibility assessment for an EU-wide Wastewater Monitoring System for SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance

Wastewater surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 eventually combined with the monitoring of pharmaceuticals used in the treatment of COVID-19 is likely to be a valuable and efficient tool to monitor virus circulation in EU cities and towns.

Spanish Research Council scientists explain SARS-CoV-2 transmission in beaches and pools

Opinion article

It's time to take a step further

More than a year ago, Smart Water Magazine was launched with the aim of becoming the leading source of information for professionals in the water industry. In these 16 months, the project has consolidated with excellent results in terms of the traffic received, subscriptions to our newsletters, the growth of profiles on social networks and, above all, the quality of the content generated.

After successfully completing this first launch phase, it is time to move on to the second stage. At this time, the influence gained and the close relationships woven with the most important actors in the world scene allow us to face with confidence the publication of a monthly magazine that completes our information products.

Structured into six core themes: Business, Water Treatment, Digital, Utilities, Climate Change and Sustainable Development Goals, Smart Water Magazine Monthly (SWMM) is born with the aim of analysing in detail the most relevant events that shape the future of water. And, could it be otherwise? This first number is marked by the response to COVID-19. Service managers have been forced to adapt in record time to an event that has tested the resilience of their systems. Protecting the health of workers, guaranteeing water security and articulating formulas to help the most vulnerable have been shared priorities in most countries affected by the pandemic. It can be said that this first test is being passed with flying colours, allowing hundreds of millions of people to continue enjoying clean and safe water.

MONDAY, MAY 11

Santa Maria da Feira received 44 new hospital beds

In this special effort promoted by Miya, in partnership with the Municipality of Santa Maria da Feira, six nursing homes has received a total of 44 hospital beds.

Data show millions at risk of water shutoffs during COVID-19

Water in the Post-COVID-19 Green Economy

The post-COVID-19 reconstruction phase should be centred around the green economy, the concept of which enables economic growth and investment while increasing environmental quality and social inclusiveness.

FRIDAY, MAY 8

GoAigua brings massive COVID testing to US sewer systems

Beginning immediately, GoAigua will partner with several water utilities in the United States to train them on the methodology. 

Overcrowded homes and a lack of water leave some Indonesians at risk of the coronavirus

A lack of access to a household toilet and clean water are putting many people in parts of Indonesia at risk of infection from the coronavirus.

Miya donates to the new Intensive Care Unit at Pedro Hispano Hospital in Portugal

The project, inaugurated this week, will strengthen the response capacity of the Intensive Care Services of the local health care unit in Matosinhos, Portugal relieving the pressure caused by the pandemic of COVID-19.

IHA and IRENA coalition call for renewables-driven recovery

While the Covid-19 pandemic is the world’s most pressing threat with its tragic impacts on families everywhere requiring urgent action, we must not lose sight of climate targets and the sustainable development goals.

Researchers in UAE monitor SARS-CoV-2 levels in municipal sewage to track COVID-19​

Why it doesn’t make economic sense to ignore climate change in our recovery from the pandemic

It will be tempting for some to overlook the climate change challenge in the rush to restart the economy after the pandemic.

THURSDAY, MAY 7

How the world is working in the NRW arena

Stuart Hamilton, Chair of IWA’s Water Loss Specialist Group (WLSG), outlined in his presentation during the Miya and CWWA webinar, how the world is working in the non-revenue water (NRW) arena.

Top ten strangest items freed from sewers during lockdown

England's Northumbrian Water reveals some of the strangest things their sewage teams have found clogged up in sewers since lockdown began six weeks ago.

Sewage poses potential COVID-19 transmission risk, experts warn

In parched southern Africa, coronavirus spurs action on water supply

Across drought-hit southern Africa, COVID-19 has spurred governments to dispatch water tankers, drill boreholes and repair taps - solutions experts and residents of thirsty slums and villages say must last long after the pandemic has passed.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 6

Water Europe releases position paper on post-COVID-19 recovery plan

Water Europe released its new position paper A Water Smart Society for a successful post COVID19 recovery plan to stress out the importance of water as key enabler to reboot and accelerate the recovery towards a resilient and united Europe.

Miya Jamaica donates relief supplies to COVID-19 affected communities in Jamaica

Miya Jamaica has stepped in to provide relief supplies to Jamaican families, who are enduring financial hardships and stringent physical restrictions during this time. 

Prepare for Covid-19 waves, water industry told

CDC provides guidance to ensure water is safe after prolonged shutdown

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance to ensure the safety of building water systems and devices after a prolonged shutdown.

US$69 billion shock to municipal water utilities sparks rethink

How coronavirus and seasonal floods are causing hunger in the remote Amazon

Despite surviving the early part of the pandemic without many cases, the Brazilian Amazon is now experiencing a major COVID-19 outbreak. 

Israel develops method to track SARS-CoV-2 virus through sewage system

A group of BGU scientists have developed a new methodology to trace the SARS-CoV-2 virus through the sewage and wastewater systems.

TUESDAY, MAY 5

COVID-19: Caribbean and global impact and response

Miya Water 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.

"Our validated method built on work conducted by research in the Netherlands and USA"

Australia’s national science agency CSIRO and the University of Queensland have come together to test untreated wastewater for the presence of the novel coronavirus gene. We speak with Paul Bertsch, CSIRO Land and Water Science Director. 

Thames Water donates £1 million to help customers during coronavirus

Thames Water will double its Trust Fund donation to £1 million to support customers who are in financial need during the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19: UN-Habitat and EIB cooperate to improve cities and provide handwashing facilities

UN-Habitat, the United Nations Agency for Human Settlements and the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest international public bank, have agreed to increase cooperation to support sustainable urban investment across Africa and globally.

COVID-19: Ofwat decision on proposals to address liquidity challenges and increases in bad debt  

Ofwat has published its final decisions on how it will intervene to support customers’ interests in the business retail market through the current Covid-19 pandemic.

MONDAY, MAY 4

Melbourne Water helps lead national sewage testing project in fight against COVID-19

Melbourne Water will be at the forefront of an innovative COVID-19 sewage sampling project to help inform policy makers and health authorities about potential clusters of people infected with the virus and timelines of potential outbreaks.

US coalition sues to stop clean water rollbacks

A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the Trump administration’s unlawful move to gut protections for many of America’s streams and wetlands.

THURSDAY, APRIL 30

Water consumption and demand forecasting during COVID-19 crisis

This article shows a brief analysis of water consumption pattern change and the reliability of WatEner Platform’s Demand Forecast System in the city of Karlsruhe (Germany) during the current Coronavirus COVID-19.

Drought-hit Argentina faces water worries amid coronavirus pandemic

The worst drought in 50 years in northeast Argentina is hitting hydropower and tourism and threatening drinking water.

Veolia launches new COVID-19 disinfection services to ensure safe and compliant treatment

 Veolia has launched a new COVID-19 disinfection service designed to ensure compliant treatment for businesses that need disinfection.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29

The pandemic shines a light on water and sanitation problems in Rio de Janeiro

The COVID-19 emergency is drawing new attention to access to water and sanitation in Brazil’s favelas.

LuminUltra to supply 500,000 COVID-19 tests per week to Canadian Government

Canadian biotechnology leader LuminUltra will provide 500,000 urgently needed COVID-19 tests per week to the Canadian federal government for use across Canada.

Xylem extends global community grants program to support COVID-19 response

Xylem calls on customers and partners to nominate non-profit organizations in their communities to receive funding for COVID-19 response.

British Water welcomes workforce planning report

British Water has welcomed guidance from Energy & Utility Skills which sets out how businesses in the sector can develop and maintain a sustainable workforce beyond Covid-19.

TUESDAY, APRIL 28

Community resilience, Africa’s hope

Epidemics and pandemics have marked African history. COVID-19 arrives in the continent overlapping with other endemic diseases, serious medical deficiencies and unmet goals in the access to water and sanitation. 

New Zealand looks for the presence of COVID-19 in sewage

MONDAY, APRIL 27

Flushing is our next weapon against COVID-19, if you’re happy to have your sewage scrutinised

Australia’s government recently announced that sewage is to be tested for SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. 

WEF convening a panel to evaluate biological hazards and precautions for wastewater workers

WaterRA: sewage surveillance collaboration to support Australia's COVID-19 response

Water Research Australia is leading an innovative, Australia-wide investigation that aims to integrate reliable results of sewage testing for SARS-CoV-2 with COVID-19 health data on a national basis.

Handling hospital wastewater with care

To ensure effective treatment of chemical compounds in the wastewater – such as antibiotics, X-ray contrast agents, disinfectants and pharmaceutical residue – the Civic Hospital of Partinico looked to Xylem to supply the necessary equipment via the contractor B.O.D srl

Digitalization unlocks efficiency and resilience

Now more than ever, the words efficiency and resilience reach a new dimension. And on a planet forced to reinvent itself using fewer resources, digitalization is the lever that perhaps can push with more force to gradually resume cruising speed. A very obvious case of the benefits it can produce is that of water treatment plants. This is the case of the Punta Grandelle WWTP, which we learned about in detail this week. Schneider Electric's solution allowed Veolia to increase the operating efficiency of the complex by more than 20% thanks to the integration of energy and process data, reduced response times, redundancy and interoperability of systems. In addition, the managers achieved an estimated saving of 15% in energy costs, a reduction in downtime and better traceability and reporting based on the complete availability of operational parameters and consumption data.

And, if we talk about efficiency, we have to refer to the circular economy. The world’s wastewater - 80 percent of which is released into the environment without adequate treatment - is a valuable resource from which clean water, energy, nutrients, and other resources can be recovered, according to a recent World Bank report released. “At a time when 36 percent of the world’s population lives in water-scarce regions, wastewater treatment for reuse is part of the solution to water scarcity and pollution problems,” said Jennifer Sara, Global Director, World Bank Water Global Practice. "Once treated, it can be used to replace freshwater for irrigation, industrial processes, or recreational purposes. It can also be used to maintain the environmental flow and by-products from its treatment can generate energy and nutrients. ”

Always with the main objective of achieving SDG 6 on access to drinking water and sanitation, post-COVID19 reconstruction strategies must firmly commit to these pathways. With available technology and knowledge, the challenge is management.

FRIDAY, APRIL 24

Miya disinfects streets and public spaces in the north of Portugal

Miya, through its subsidiary INDAQUA, the largest Portuguese private operator in the sector of municipal water concessions, has adapted its services to launch a disinfection action for streets and public spaces in all the municipalities.

70% of population in US could be screened for SARS-CoV-2 via wastewater monitoring, says scientist

In a new study, ASU researchers Rolf Halden and Olga Hart analyze what can and cannot be measured when tracking SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater.

AquaLAB Connect launches global conversation to help shape the digital future of water

Leaders around the world now have a virtual home to connect, share knowledge and collaborate with each other thanks to GHD Digital’s new platform, AquaLAB Connect.

THURSDAY, APRIL 23

The coronavirus pandemic might make buildings sick, too

Xylem partners with Americares for COVID-19 response and global health work

Xylem and Americares begin 5-year sustainable partnership to provide improvements to critical healthcare facilities and WASH education to communities.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 22

Tackling COVID-19 (Coronavirus) with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in DRC

A lack of safe access to water and sanitation makes DRC particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. The World Bank is providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services as part of the pandemic response.

Why civil society organizations have a critical role to play in solving Africa’s sanitation crisis

Over the years, countries across Africa have each tackled sanitation challenges with a different policy approach, and now rapid urbanisation, scarcity of resources and emerging concerns like COVID-19 threaten to harm vulnerable populations and move existing progress backwards. To weave together the continent’s disjointed sanitation policy landscape and ensure that such policies are comprehensive and sustainable in the long-term, the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) has introduced the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) Initiative. This comprehensive framework draws on the experience of Africa’s top sanitation and hygiene experts to support leaders to develop tailored policies that reflect their countries’ individual realities, using tried-and-tested approaches that benefit lives.

TUESDAY, APRIL 21

Some US cities will be harder hit by changes in water quality

We interview Purdue University researchers Andrew J. Whelton, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering and Environmental and Ecological Engineering, and Caitlin R. Proctor, Postdoctoral Researcher, on the threats of stagnant water. 

Moving towards a green and sustainable economy post-COVID-19

Thirteen European environment ministers have published an open letter in which they urge the European Commission to keep up its ambitions to move towards a green and sustainable economy.

ACWA members urged to continue outreach to congress on federal covid-19 relief

ACWA distributed an Outreach Alert that calls on member agencies to email U.S. Congress members and emphasize how future COVID-19 relief bills need to address impacts on water and wastewater systems.

MONDAY, APRIL 20

DWI asserts that tap water can be used as normal

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) – set up to provide independent reassurance that water supplies throughout England and Wales are safe, with acceptable drinking water quality.

Water disinfection treatments, effective against coronavirus

The weeks of confinement continue to occur and the water sector is one of those showing greater resilience against the pandemic. The water services remain fully operational and the measures taken by public and private operators allow no one to be left behind in terms of access to drinking water and sanitation.

Researchers have changed their priorities in record time. As we have been collecting in our exhaustive coverage, there are many studies that assess the presence of the virus causing COVID-19 in wastewater. In this last week we have learned that the Michigan State University water expert Joan Rose has been appointed chair of the Covid-19 Task Force for the International Water Association (IWA). The group has been tasked with learning more about the public health consequences of the novel coronavirus in the water system. "The IWA task force is a wonderful group of both early career and experienced scientists," Rose said. "The team has a strong background in virology, and I'm confident that we'll be able to make a lot of progress in the coming weeks and months."

FRIDAY, APRIL 17

Water Services Regulation Authority Ofwat consults to protect business retail market

Ofwat worked closely with the market operator MOSL to put in place urgent retail code modifications at the end of March.

An Isle Utilities WhatsApp group intended for a handful of utilities to share learnings and experiences of the Covid-19 pandemic has quickly scaled to involve over 180 organisations.

Coronavirus: Thames Water's 6,000-strong workforce will not be furloughed

Thames Water has joined Britain’s biggest water companies in announcing it will not use the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme to furlough any of its 6,000 employees.

Severn Trent will support colleagues, customers and communities through the impact of COVID-19

We’re committed to providing stability and security for our workforce through this difficult period.

Northumbrian Water Group unites with UK businesses in fight against Covid19

Northumbrian Water Group has joined forces with a host of other leading businesses and universities across the UK in an initiative to help the region pull through the coronavirus crisis.

Australian researchers trace sewage for early warning COVID-19 spread

Australian researchers have achieved the first step in developing an early warning surveillance system to track COVID-19 prevalence in the community through tracing the presence of the novel coronavirus gene in raw sewage.

THURSDAY, APRIL 16

Ian Pepper: "We have detected the virus in raw sewage, but not after secondary treatment"

During an interview with Ian Pepper, director of the WEST Center, he said that the University had already detected the virus in raw sewage, but not after secondary treatment.

Financial challenges of the COVID-19 emergency for U.S. water utilities

Two recently released publications give some insights into the financial implications of the COVID-19 emergency on the American water sector.

Zimbabwe: unsafe water raises COVID-19 risks

Zimbabwean authorities should urgently provide alternative sources of safe drinking water, such as safe boreholes and protected wells.

COVID-19 environmental roll back ‘irrational’ and irresponsible’

Countries must not use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to weaken environmental protection and enforcement, a UN independent human rights expert said.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

Covid-19 and the water crisis in India: a wakeup call for clean water

Without access to clean drinking water, millions of Indians were already at risk from infectious diseases before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The other side of coronavirus pandemic: clean water in Venice and less air pollution

The global health crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) is having worrying social and economic consequences. On top of those, the third element of sustainable development is the environment, which has seen an improvement.

Tap water in France under strict surveillance

In various regions of France, drinking water suppliers have increased the dose of chlorine in the water distribution networks.

Water quality could change in buildings closed down during COVID-19 pandemic

US EPA to increase the availability of disinfectant products for use against novel coronavirus

The U.S. EPA took additional actions to assure that safe and effective disinfectant products are available to the American public to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Scottish Water’s Scientific Services team working amid coronavirus crisis

Scottish Water’s vital role is to look after the water supply and remove and clean the water citizens use.

TUESDAY, APRIL 14

New U.S. House bill proposes to ban water shutoffs and restore water services

WEF releases WATER'S WORTH IT toolkit to highlight role of water sector in coronavirus response

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) has released a new WATER’S WORTH IT toolkit to raise public awareness about the vital role of water utilities and workers in the coronavirus response.

Carlsbad Desalination plant staff rotate in lock in amid coronavirus to ensure productivity

New team of mission-critical employees relieves original 10-person crew, begins 21-day lock-in at critical water facility for operational continuity.

International task force to examine wastewater for community infection of novel coronavirus

Michigan State University (MSU) water expert Joan Rose is leading efforts to collaborate with scientists worldwide to monitor for the presence of the novel coronavirus in sewage.

MONDAY, APRIL 13

Digital transformation, now more than ever

The ability to adapt is one of the characteristics that defines the success of companies. In a context of crisis, having a reliable solution for both telecommuting and remote operations management becomes a must.

Utico continues to support consumers during COVID-19 times

Utico sets up a program to defer 100% bills of those who lost their jobs and seeking new jobs in the country.

The new priorities of the water industry

Now that we are certain that normalcy will not return in the short term, it is time for the water industry to put on the table a new roadmap in which the order of priorities will inevitably be affected. And these new circumstances place health at the center of all strategies. We are talking about a factor that, obviously, has always been essential in water management, but which now takes on a new dimension. It is very likely that this emergency will drain resources that were being allocated to environmental policies and “relocate” them in the health field. Although some actors are demanding the maintenance of instruments such as the Green Deal, the facts seem to impose a different scenario, the one drawn this week by the finance ministers of the European Union by activating 240 billion euros of the European rescue fund (European Stability Mechanism, ESM) to avoid deterioration of the public finances of Member States. The only requirement to apply for this financing will be that the countries that request these credits commit to using them to finance the direct and indirect healthcare costs derived from the Covid-19 crisis.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8

Continuity of utility services in the U.S. during the COVID-19 emergency

Millions of Americans risk losing water services if they don’t keep up with payments, at a time when the pandemic has caused unemployment to sky-rocket.

South African municipalities warned against cutting water to residents

Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has appealed to municipalities throughout the country to refrain from abruptly cutting water supply to residents.

Water utilities taking steps to prevent disruptions and assist households, says AWWA

With water and wastewater critical to fighting the coronavirus pandemic, water utilities are swiftly employing plans to prevent service disruptions and assist households struggling to pay water bills, according to a recent survey conducted by the American Water Works Association.

TUESDAY, APRIL 7

India's rivers benefit from lockdown

Water quality in the Ganga shows a 40 to 50 per cent improvement, according to Dr. PK Mishra, professor of Chemical Engineering and Technology at the Indian Institute of Technology (Banaras Hindu University) in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

Coronavirus: How Thames Water is protecting hospitals and care homes

Thames Water engineers have been working behind the scenes to protect hospitals, care homes and the newly opened NHS Nightingale Hospital from supply interruptions.

The Democratic Republic of Congo to provide free water and electricity amidst coronavirus

TEPPFA calls on EU to list water, sanitation and wastewater companies as essential amid COVID-19

TEPPFA calls on EU and Member State authorities to list drinking water, sanitation and waste water industries, including their cross-border supply chains, as vital and essential to protect the human health of their citizens during the COVID-19 outbreak.

MONDAY, APRIL 6

Dr Zhugen Yang: "Testing wastewater can provide early warning of infections in the community"

We speak with Dr Zhugen Yang, Lecturer in Sensor Technology at Cranfield Water Science Institute, and head of this investigation, to learn more about the research and the advantages of testing wastewater for SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19: water and sanitation-related information

UN-Water Members and Partners are working to ensure the most up to date information, resources and guidance as they become available.

Water treatment and SARS-CoV-19: We need to know more

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its unstoppable spread across the globe, more and more scientists are calling for more research to understand whether water treatment methods kill the virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, in the United States, researchers at the University of Arizona Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center are testing wastewater across the country to trace coronavirus prevalence in communities and help public health officials better prepare for the future. "Testing the wastewater gives you an idea of the number of cases within a community and if the numbers are increasing or decreasing," said Ian Pepper, director of the WEST Center and a BIO5 Institute member.

FRIDAY, APRIL 3

Scientists track coronavirus through wastewater across US

Researchers at the University of Arizona Water and Energy Sustainable Technology Center are testing wastewater across the United States to trace coronavirus prevalence in communities and help public health officials better prepare for the future.

California bans water shutoffs amid coronavirus

Governor Gavin Newsom signed on Thursday an executive order that will restrict water shutoffs to homes and small businesses while the state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scientists call for more research on water treatment and SARS-CoV-19

Scientists know that coronaviruses, including the SARS-CoV-19 virus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can remain infectious for days — or even longer — in sewage and drinking water.

WOP-LAC operators take action against COVID-19

Grim photo shows "unflushables" clogging up machinery at sewage works

Thames Water is reminding people not to flush wet wipes, kitchen roll, tissues or newspaper.

Xylem continues serving customers on front lines of essential services

Xylem withdrew its financial guidance for the first quarter of 2020 and for the full year, because of the impact of COVID-19. 

THURSDAY, APRIL 2

WHO recommends improving hand hygiene practices widely in public and private facilities

With the goal to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus, The World Health Organization (WHO) has released new hand hygiene guidelines for all countries, especially for areas without ready access to hand hygiene locations.  

Kenya's push to harvest rainwater has a new payoff: battling coronavirus

Demand for clean water is on the rise in Kenya as the World Health Organization and the government urge people to regularly wash their hands to curb the spread of the virus.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1

Study looks at survival of coronaviruses in water and wastewater

The UA study offers helpful information, demonstrating that transmission of coronaviruses tend to be limited in the aqueous environment due to the fact that they are rapidly inactivated in water and wastewater at ambient temperatures.

EPA urges states to support drinking water and wastewater operations during COVID-19

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler sent a letter to Governors in all 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C. urging them to ensure that drinking water and wastewater employees are considered essential workers by state authorities.

Spain bans water shutoffs during the coronavirus pandemic.

WMO is concerned about impact of COVID-19 on observing system

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the quantity and quality of weather observations and forecasts, as well as atmospheric and climate monitoring.

Key workers keeping UK’s water running

Water company staff are continuing to keep the UK’s water running during the current COVID-19 crisis.

Wastewater test could provide early warning of COVID-19

Researchers at Cranfield University are working on a new test to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the wastewater of communities infected with the virus.

TUESDAY, MARCH 31

EPA relaxes environmental regulations during the coronavirus outbreak

A new EPA policy released last Thursday establishes new guidelines for company self-monitoring during the coronavirus crisis.

Michigan water shut-offs suspended due to COVID-19

UAE to reduce water and electricity bills of businesses

The water and electricity bills of shopping malls, commercial shops, hotels, hotel apartments, and plants will be reduced by 20 per cent for three months.

NORMA Group ensures production of critical infrastructure products for water in California

NDS, a US subsidiary of NORMA Group, has been classified as part of the critical infrastructure in the area of “water and sanitation” in accordance with the criteria of the federal authority Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. 

Turkey/Syria: weaponizing water in global pandemic?

Turkish authorities’ failure to ensure adequate water supplies to Kurdish-held areas in Northeast Syria is compromising humanitarian agencies’ ability to prepare and protect vulnerable communities in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not everyone can wash their hands

The health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of handwashing with soap and water as one of the keys to halting the spread of the disease.

MONDAY, MARCH 30

Iran to launch several water projects despite coronavirus crisis

The Ministry of Energy of Iran has announced it will launch several electricity and water projects despite the outbreak of the coronavirus ravaging the country with the official death toll passing 2,000.  

Key workers keep vital water and wastewater services running

Thames Water customers will continue to see the company’s engineers working in their communities to maintain essential water and wastewater services during the coronavirus outbreak.

Opinion article

Why will the water industry resist the pandemic?

It is devastating to see how the number of deaths by # COVID19 increases every day. And it is even worse to know that, in many cases, their family and friends have not been able to give them even one last goodbye. Despite the efforts of the vast majority of citizens, administrations and companies, the virus continues to do damage that is difficult to bear in our society. But we have no choice but to try to bring out the best in ourselves and, each in his field, do everything possible to stop it. This is what water utilities are doing, guaranteeing the quality of services, more essential than ever, and protecting their workers from the risk of contagion.

FRIDAY, MARCH 27

Stimulus package from US Congress does not include financial relief for the water sector

Last Wednesday the US Congress presented a stimulus package including funds for several private sectors, but not for the water sector.

NACWA estimates US water utilities could lose $12.5 billion from COVID-19 impact

Thames Water hires celebrity truck drivers to deliver key services

Out-of-work truck drivers have swapped celebrity television shows for water to help protect vital services during the coronavirus outbreak.

THURSDAY, MARCH 26

"We don’t foresee a significant long term impact from COVID-19 on the industry"

We speak with Amit Horman, Miya's CEO, to know how his company is managing the situation.

UN issues $2 billion appeal to combat COVID-19

The United Nations launched a US$2 billion coordinated global humanitarian response plan to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

What we learn about the coronavirus through wastewater research

The method we use in KWR’s microbiological laboratory is developed by ‘on-the-fly’.

Pentair provides business updates related to COVID-19 impact

Pentair has provided a business update in light of recent suspensions of operations caused by COVID-19. 

COVID-19 will not be stopped without providing safe water to people living in vulnerability, UN experts warn.

SUEZ board of directors review actions the Group has put in place to adjust to COVID-19 context

SUEZ and all our employees are fully focused on ensuring continuity of service in all the countries where we operate.

Researchers from The Netherlands claim to have found novel coronavirus in wastewater

The novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has been detected in wastewater in the Netherlands, according to RIVM National Institute for Public Health and the Environment research.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

COVID-19 looms over refugee camps where water scarcity is commonplace

With the coronavirus spreading across the world, millions of people living in refugee camps are preparing for the arrival of the pandemic.

Metro Manila water supply is safe from COVID 19

Amid the coronavirus outbreak, The Philippines Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System releases a statement assuring the Metro Manila residents that the drinking water supplied is safe. 

SA Water announces measures amid coronavirus pandemic

As with water utilities across the world, we have a range of measures in place to manage the impacts of COVID-19, ensuring we can continue to provide safe and reliable water and sewerage services to our customers.

Water companies in England and Wales step up action to help customers in need amid COVID-19 crisis

Water companies in England and Wales have stepped up efforts to help customers who have lost their jobs or had their incomes cut during the coronavirus crisis.

Middlesex Water continues investment in system reliability and resiliency amid coronavirus crisis

Middlesex Water Company has announced that despite the current COVID-19 crisis, the company is maintaining reliable utility services as well as continuing its ongoing construction projects.

Water UK provides Covid-19 information for customers

Across the industry companies are working together so that every single person across the UK can continue to rely on their water supply and sewerage service. 

Interruption to key water station in the northeast of Syria puts 460,000 people at risk

UNICEF and partners are supporting families in the city of al-Hassakeh and camps for displaced families with water trucking, but this barely covers minimum needs if the water supply is interrupted again.

Water access critical to beating back COVID-19 spread in slum areas

UN-Habitat said the impacts of the new coronavirus disease could be considerably higher on the urban poor living in slums, where overcrowding also makes it difficult to follow other recommended measures.

TUESDAY, MARCH 24

Abengoa adapts its activity to the situation created by COVID-19

Abengoa releases a statement in view of the situation created by the COVID-19.

De Nora delivers mobile bleach generator to Fort Bend County, TX, to protect citizens

As communities across the world search for ways to quickly protect the health and safety of their residents, De Nora, has delivered a mobile on-site sodium hypochlorite (bleach) generator to Fort Bend County, Texas.​

CDC issues coronavirus guidance for treatment systems

The leading national public health institute of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has published a fact sheet on water transmission and COVID-19.

Concerns over water shortages jump in Jordan amid coronavirus lockdown

Complaints and concerns over water shortages rose by 58% in Jordan in the first day after a country-wide curfew was instated.

Carlsbad Desalination plant staff lock in amid coronavirus pandemic to ensure productivity

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant in San Diego County is taking extraordinary steps to ensure there is uninterrupted production and delivery of safe and reliable water for San Diego County. As of Friday, 10 workers are quarantined inside the plant for the next three weeks, monitoring and overseeing this critical regional facility.

MONDAY, MARCH 23

Government of Bahrain to pay citizens’ water bills for three months

The government of Bahrain is to pay individuals’ and businesses’ Electricity and Water Authority utility bills for three months from April 2020 (up to the costs incurred during the same period in 2019), whilst also restructuring government administrative costs to offset additional costs incurred by the government.

The world is at a greater risk from coronavirus due to poor water infrastructure

Water infrastructure has been suffering from inadequate funding for decades; as a result many countries are at increased risk during this coronavirus crisis due to inadequate access to water and sanitation.

Scottish Water provides financial support for licensed providers

From 1 April, Scottish Water will relax pre-payment arrangements for wholesale water charges on Licensed Providers who supply water to businesses in Scotland - worth about £60 million.

Globally, 4 out of 5 people do not wash hands after using the bathroom

WaterAid is urgently scaling up our work to help limit the spread of Coronavirus.

Fluence Operational Update Regarding COVID-19

Fluence China is fully operational notwithstanding the previous significant effects of the spread of the Coronavirus in Hubei Province and other parts of the country.

OVIVO's response to COVID-19

Maintaining business continuity throughout this period is the other critical priority we share with you.

COVID-19 Pandemic: Update from IHA

Throughout this crisis, IHA will continue to support our members and partners and work to advance sustainable hydropower.

Opinion article

Our role in the COVID-19 crisis

From Smart Water Magazine we are committed to putting all our resources so that organizations and professionals are kept perfectly informed. We know that the countries experiencing the first signs of growth of the pandemic look to others such as Spain or Italy, where the impact is already very strong. It is imperative that we learn from the successes and mistakes of those who are already facing the enemy, also in the water industry. In this battle, you can count on the support of SWM.

FRIDAY, MARCH 20

Coronavirus & Water Pandemics: Doing the Math

Vladimir Smakhtin (Director at UNU-INWEH) reflects on the global water pandemic, the silent pandemic.

San Diego County Water Authority and members increase coordination during coronavirus pandemic

San Diego County Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have increased regional coordination and communication to ensure the coronavirus pandemic does not impact safe and secure water service for San Diego County.

Measures taken by Sacyr Agua in the context of the coronavirus crisis

Sacyr water launches different measures to ensure the water services and the safety of employees during the coronavirus crisis.

American Water Works Association COVID-19 response: water sector preparation, vigilance crucial

AWWA releases preliminary results from an AWWA member survey (see full graph), on how the coronavirus will affect water companies in the U.S., and finds absenteeism and continuity of operations are the major areas of expected challenges from COVID-19 for water utilities.

WesTech responds to coronavirus

WesTech, with headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, has released a statement on its response to the coronavirus crisis.

THURSDAY, MARCH 19

United Utilities responds to coronavirus outbreak

One of the United Kingdom's largest listed water companies has released a statement reassuring its customers: "We understand this is a challenging time and we’ve put our robust business continuity plans into action so we can make sure we can still supply our water and wastewater services to all customers across the North West."

Western Australia will freeze water prices as part of the economic response to COVID-19

The government of the state of Western Australia announced earlier this week a stimulus package to support households and small businesses in the wake of the COVID-19 emergency worth $607 million.

The biggest portion ($402 million) will go to freeze all household fees and charges, including electricity, water, motor vehicle charges, emergency services levy and public transport fares, which will not increase at least until July 1st, 2021.

El Salvador to freeze water and electricity fees and mortage payments

President Nayib Bukele announces a stimulus package to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, including suspending electricity and water fees and freezing mortgage payments.

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18

SUEZ takes action worldwide to ensure continuity of essential public services

The Group is working to ensure service continuity for local authorities, private and industrial customers in all the countries in which it manages water, sanitation and waste services. Preventive measures are in place to protect all its employees.

Global water industry braces for coronavirus pandemic

Many water utilities around the world have released their continuity plans to ensure the correct continuance of their services, including the treatment, distribution of drinking water and wastewater sanitation. A report by Olivia Tempest.

Veolia is mobilized to continue to provide its essential services

Veolia is getting organized following the decisions in several countries to take exceptional measures aimed at stopping the COVID-19 epidemic.

USA: Major water associations reassure public on safety of tap water during COVID-19 outbreak

As the global COVID-19 crisis continues to develop and reports of bottled water shortages make headlines, the National Association of Water Companies, the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies issued this joint statement.

Thames Water's response to coronavirus

Thames Water releases a statement on the company's response to the coronavirus.

Toilet paper substitutes threaten to clog sewers amid Coronavirus pandemic

In the wake of the pandemic, water services officials, among them UK’s Thames Water, are warning about the danger of flushing down toilets toilet paper.

What is the impact on Scottish Water services and customers?

Scottish Water’s priority is the provision of water and waste water services to its customers across the country.

Xylem's global coronavirus (COVID-19) actions

Xylem has published a statement detailing the company's global coronavirus actions:

  • We are keeping close to events as they unfold in this fluid environment, taking action globally to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate its impact.
  • Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our colleagues, customers, partners and the communities we all serve. Our thoughts are with those directly affected by the virus, and those caring for loved ones. 
  • Through the coming period of uncertainty, we remain committed to helping our customers and partners continue to address water and resource management challenges in their communities.

EPA releases COVID-19 disinfectant list

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing an expanded list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains nearly 200 additional products—including 40 new products that went through the agency’s expedited review process. The agency also made key enhancements to the web-based list to improve its usefulness

Opinion article

Water services: heroes in the face of the pandemic

Looking back and looking for culprits may seem tempting, but honestly, I think this is not the time. No one is free to throw the first stone, and yet we can all pull our weight and help make this hardship we have to live last as little as possible. There are already countless recognitions to those who are in the front line of war: healthcare professionals, state forces and security forces, pharmacists, shopkeepers, delivery men and a long etcetera. But from here I also want to highlight the operators of water services, always essential but even more so these days. I am aware that throughout the world they are working to exhaustion to adopt measures in record time to guarantee the quality of supply and the safety of their employees.

TUESDAY, MARCH 17

Water shutoffs suspended in 90 US cities to address public health threats posed by the coronavirus

The list of public utilities establishing a moratorium on service shutoffs is increasing, and about 90 cities and 57 million people in the U.S. will be protected from losing service during the ongoing pandemic.

De Nora supports Italian civil protection agencies in the fight against the coronavirus

De Nora is supporting the efforts of the Civil Protection Department by deploying four electrochlorination systems in northern Italy, near Milan. The electrochlorination systems produce sodium hypochlorite, a chlorine equivalent that is suitable for the disinfection of hard surfaces and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is effective against the proliferation of the COVID-19 virus

Report

Water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management for COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have published a technical brief on water, sanitation and health care waste management that is relevant to viruses, including coronaviruses. The text supplements existing documents by referencing and summarizing the WHO guidance on this topic.

Read the full report: [Water, sanitation, hygiene and waste management for the COVID-19 virus]