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Live coverage: Latest news on coronavirus and water industry

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]

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.