Water Haller – CWWA Guidance and Support

May 6, 2020

As this pandemic crisis continues, we want you to know that your national association is here to support you.  We have redesigned the website at www.cwwa.ca and it is easy to click on the COVID-19 button.  This will lead you to several guidance documents, links to more resources and a lot of related news clippings.  You would have seen our press releases last month of flushables and on tap water.  Since then, our committees have been working on more direct guidance for members and for the public.  Here is what we’ve been up to:

CWWA Water Sector Pandemic Action Plan – We trust utility leaders will find this to be a very helpful guide to all the considerations in this challenge.  This was prepared by the emergency management professionals on our CWWA Technical Committee.

Action Plan Part II – The same committee is working on a second guidance document addressing further details to keep workers safe and utilities operating.  This will include options for extreme situations like sequestering on site, but also all the methods we must consider to develop the “new normal” as we eventually relax a little.

Re-opening of Buildings – Our science and operations experts on the Drinking Water Committee are preparing to release a guidance document intended for the public in preparation of the eventual return to work.  Many offices, hotels, restaurants and institutions have been closed for an extended period.  This report will identify the concerns that need to be addressed to ensure the water systems are safe and wastewater is working efficiently.

Wastewater Research – We had been involved months ago in research tracking wastewater to detect cocaine or marijuana use in communities.  This same methodology could be very useful to the public health sector to track COVID-19 and influence responses.  Members of our Wastewater Committee are working with the Canadian Water Network to coordinate these efforts.

Advocacy – CWWA continues to participate in national discussions with our provincial/regional associations as we identify concerns that may need to be taken to a federal level.  We all support each other – sharing details on operator certification and training, compliance, recognition as essential workers, access to PPE and more.

Once again, if there are specific things you would like to see us doing or saying, let us know.

One positive story out of all of this is a recognition of the importance of water and wastewater systems to communities – a new awareness of tap water and hopefully a new respect for their toilets and sewers.