(August 19, 2020) – NACWA utility members are sharing information on the Association’s Engage peer-to-peer platform regarding sewer service disconnections during the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible payment arrangements, and assistance programs. NACWA staff will be compiling this information for further analysis, and on behalf of all our members we appreciate those who have shared their experiences so far. At the national level, COVID-19 is spurring increased interest from Members of Congress and a broad range of stakeholders around the issues of water affordability and access – interest that NACWA is working to leverage into meaningful discussion and steps forward on addressing affordability and providing federal ratepayer assistance to support utility efforts.
NACWA and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) are also talking with Raftelis Financial Consultants, a NACWA Affiliate Member, which is developing a utility questionnaire on similar topics to be released in the coming weeks. NACWA and AMWA will be supporting Raftelis in encouraging utility responses to ensure robust data on these issues nationally. More information will be included in the Current later this month.
Also of note, members on Engage have been trading strategies for how to help their staff with young children at home navigate complex and competing work and childcare needs during the pandemic. If your utility has implemented strategies that have helped manage these complex HR challenges, you are encouraged to share your experiences on Engage. NACWA will be hosting an informal Zoom call with utility executives regarding how to approach these unprecedented and often sensitive HR issues related to staff childcare needs.
The issues presented above are only a sampling of the broader conversations and examples of peer-to-peer learning taking place on the Engage platform, and through informal Zoom video chats and virtual committee meetings. For example, on the Communications & Public Affairs Committee forum, members have been sharing strategies for virtual education outreach ideas to replace many of the on-site learning initiatives that would normally be taking place beginning in the fall. The Communications & Public Affairs Committee also held a call last week on water service shutoffs from a communications perspective.
If you have a question that your peers might have an answer to, please surf over to the Engage Open Forum, or your committee-specific page, and trade insights and best practices with your fellow members.