Virtually all industry events scheduled to take place over the next few weeks have been postponed, cancelled or moved online as organisers respond to the spread of Covid 19.
For water companies, the Coronavirus is primarily a business continuity issue. Plans made for the event of a no-deal Brexit are being redeployed to ensure operations can continue as usual as far as possible, and companies are coordinating their incident management responses.
Many have imposed restrictions on non essential travel for their staff. No supply impacts are anticipated for customers. Some have warned customers sewers could get blocked if toilet paper alternatives, such as kitchen roll, are flushed – should toilet paper shortages continue.
In the retail market, retailers are concerned about the cash-flow impact of customers in hard-hit sectors such as hospitality and tourism being unable to pay their bills. There is also some concern around incurring market performance charges if widespread staff absences hit service.
Sector stakeholders including government, regulators and companies are working together to coordinate planning.
• In February, THE WATER REPORT published a thought leadership paper in partnership with Yorkshire Water on open data, and said a roundtable would follow in spring. We have temporarily halted plans to convene the roundtable in light of the Covid 19 outbreak, and will be in touch with more information in due course.