Water utilities can assess financial impact of COVID-19 with new EPA tool


The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new tool to help water utilities assess the financial impact of COVID-19 on operations.

This Water Utility COVID-19 Financial Impact Tool will help provide important information about the financial and operational health of water utilities, an integral part in protecting human health and the environment.

The launch of the tool comes at a time many companies are expecting revenue losses due to reduced commercial consumption, households that are unable to pay their bills and deferred or cancelled rate increases.

Water distribution companies also anticipate incurring increased costs related to overtime wages, personal protective equipment purchases, and increased demand on customer assistance programmes.

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The tool was developed by EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center to lead utilities through a series of questions that can determine how their revenues, expenses, and cashflow have been affected.

This tool will help water companies understand their own financial health as they plan for ongoing operation and maintenance and capital infrastructure needs, including implementing plans to repair, replace and modernise aging infrastructure.

Andrew Wheeler, an administrator at EPA, said: “It’s important for water utilities to understand — as early as possible — how to carry out their responsibilities and plan reinvestment for their communities as local economies start to recover from COVID-19.

“This tool will support the financial resilience of water utilities today and into the future by providing in-depth insight into how operations during COVID-19 have affected their financial standing.”

David Ross, assistant administrator at EPA, adds: “Water utilities and the water workforce have kept vital clean water services operating throughout this challenging time.

With this new tool, EPA is again showing its support for the water sector and its incredible workforce — this time by encouraging robust financial planning that is critical to sustaining the water workforce and the infrastructure that is needed to help protect public health and the environment every day.”