These are challenging times for everyone, but the urban water industry and its workers have met the challenges COVID-19 brings head on, embracing their essential role protecting the health of our communities and ensuring our taps keep flowing and toilets flushing. The team at WSAA are continuing to advocate for our members on issues related to COVID-19 and support you during this time.
National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC)
WSAA is representing the urban water industry on the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission in the Utilities Work Stream. The Commission has been formed by the Prime Minister to ensure a coordinated approach to the crisis and plan the country’s economic recovery. Recent discussions, informed by member feedback, include safe work practices under social distancing rules, assessing supply chain risks, hardship provisions, and essential workers. The AWA is also represented on this work stream.
WSAA COVID-19 Taskforce
WSAA has formed a COVID-19 Taskforce made up of the WSAA Strategic Priority Committee and selected representatives from Committees and Networks. The Taskforce will coordinate and prioritise WSAA’s work during the crisis, and plan the preparations and projects that will be important in the recovery and long-term phases.
WSAA fact sheets: COVID-19 and drinking water, wastewater and flushable products
WSAA has developed three fact sheets for our members to share within your organisation and publically.
Confirms drinking water in Australia and New Zealand continues to be clean and safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. See more.
Covers questions about transmission and addresses questions that could arise from recent research into COVID-19 in wastewater. See more.
With toilet paper and other products in high demand this fact sheet reminds customers that it is important to remember that only the 3P's should be flushed down the toilet - Pee, Poo and toilet Paper. In addition, our Executive Director Adam Lovell wrote to major supermarkets and the Australian Food and Grocery Council to request their support in helping customers understand that products like wipes, tissues and paper towel should not be flushed down the toilet. See more.
WSAA and Water Research Australia national sewage surveillance project
Water Research Australia (WaterRA) with the support of WSAA is leading an innovative Australia-wide investigation that aims to integrate reliable results of wastewater testing for SARS-CoV-2 with COVID-19 health data. Involving experts in health, microbiology, laboratory testing, wastewater-based epidemiology and policy communication, the initiative is a major collaborative effort across water utilities, health departments and researchers, with links to global expertise. See more on WaterRA's website.
WSAA, together with Dan Deere, has developed a Guidance on Essential Workers document. It will be updated as required and includes useful information to help guide workplace health and safety actions and procedures. The guidance has been shared with our member CEOs and MDs.
WSAA is also supporting our members in a social media campaign to highlight that urban water industry workers are essential. Our members have collaborated on ideas for photos, content and hashtags through the WSAA Communications Group. We have contributed to the campaign here.
As well as our existing online groups we have established some specific COVID-19 groups for knowledge sharing and collaboration between our Utility Members.
COVID-19 Community of Practice
Generic industry wide information on COVID-19 – any water utility staff can join this group.
International water utility community of practice for COVID-19
A group of representatives of the Global Water Research Coalition (GWRC) membership to focus on international sharing between GWRC members. WSAA staff will monitor and share information more broadly with members as appropriate.