social distancing
Declining revenue is another key worry as companies reopen from COVID-19, AWWA survey says.

Social distancing and declining revenue are among chief concerns for water professionals as many in the water sector are returning to work with relaxed safety measures, according to an American Water Works Association (AWWA) survey.

The survey had 464 responses, and 425 came from the utility sector. Most utility and service providers said offices would be open by the end of June.

Key takeaways from the survey:

  • Some utilities are relaxing policies put in place to mitigate COVID-19 risk (travel restrictions, work from home policies and social distancing) as well as slight decreases in utilities suspending water shutoffs.
  • Utilities report that revenue or other financial impacts have increased since late April, while many other challenges appear to be decreasing.
  • 70 percent of utilities have already implemented spending adjustments or are considering it; 20 percent of those facing or anticipating revenue issues say it’s likely it could affect the current level of service.
  • Reported disruption in PPE supply chains decrease, but about a third of utilities are still facing issues.
  • Almost two-thirds of utilities did not have a specific pandemic plan in place, but most are planning on updating, creating a new plan, or are considering options.
  • About 60 percent of utilities have or are considering making permanent changes to their work-from-home policies for employees whose job function would allow it. 
  • Nearly half of surveyed service providers report revenue issues and about two-thirds have implemented spending adjustments.

Read more on how AWWA is managing the coronavirus.