Coronavirus crisis reminds us how important access to water for all is. In times of a global pandemic that hits everyone, everywhere, collaboration and exchange of knowledge between water and sanitation operators, who are at the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, are more essential than ever.
To facilitate this exchange in a context where travelling is barely permitted, GWOPA/UN-Habitat, GIZ, BMZ and the German Water Partnership have convened the first of a series of webinars for water utilities worldwide.
Today, more than 100 operators engaged in a conversation that featured the experience of German utilities and Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company in responding to the crisis. Representatives of water and wastewater utilities reflected on the challenges they are facing and, more importantly, the ways to overcome them.
They highlighted the importance of ensuring the continuity of service: “The pandemic has a long-term run and we need to find ways to keep our work on track.”. Halting disconnections, postponement of meter readings, providing informal settlements with water tanks, or facilitation of hygienic measures to staff, are just some of the actions taken by utilities to make sure everyone has access to water.
However, utilities in some parts of the world are experiencing a significant drop in their collection rates, and call for stronger support to address the liquidity problems they are facing.