Clark said, "Initially there were ten utilities involved, but it seemed sensible to extend that out and after a few emails, within 72 hours, we had 80 utilities from around the world. Within ten days we were at 140, with participants from every continent, and the number is continuing to rise each day."
To help curate the rich stream of information the group was sharing, two colleagues were tasked with monitoring the WhatsApp group and extracting the key points to share in a weekly webinar. The Covid-19 Update, hosted by Piers Clark, takes place twice on Thursday to accommodate global time differences – at 7.30 and 16.30 BST.
"Last week as part of the weekly webinars we interviewed representatives from two Italian utilities who’ve clearly been at forefront of the European challenge. They spoke about what they’d done and there were unexpected positives, for example, leak detection becomes easier when streets are quieter. On a more serious note, utilities and municipalities are finding out whether their water safety plans are robust," Clark said.
Clark said issues on the technical side have been around contamination and reuse of personal protective equipment, asset management and the impact of changes in demand on models for water network management. Companies are also learning a lot about smarter working and the benefits of letting employees work from home.
"There has also been a lot of interest in some research recently completed in the Netherlands to monitor the virus in communities via wastewater samples," Clark revealed. "More recently people are asking about modelling of the financial impacts on organizations and changes in the way rates are charged and collected."
Over 350 people are already taking part in the weekly Covid-19 Update webinars, which are open to all. Visit www.isleutilities.com/events or email email@example.com to register.