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Australian Telewater Network for International Development

 

The Australian Water Partnership is supporting the Australian Water Association (AWA), the Pacific Water and Wastewater Association, and HunterH2O on a new knowledge-sharing initiative.

The Australian Telewater Network is a web-based initiative aimed at providing effective and increased access to Australian technical advice, knowledge and tools in developing countries that will assist in their preparedness, response and recovery from COVID-19.

Telewater aims to share approaches and lessons in managing COVID-19 risks by Australian water utilities with water utilities in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and more broadly across the Indo-Pacific region.

AWA has partnered with the Cambodian Water Supply Association, the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Water Association of Indonesia to support utility response and recovery approaches to COVID-19.

On this page you will find:

Practical guidance
Preparation, response and recovery FAQs
Environmental surveillance of coronavirus
International webinars
Ozwater'20 Online session
Challenges in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia
Further information and resources

Practical guidance

Information sheets

In collaboration with the Water Services Association of Australia and Dr Dan Deere from Water Futures, the Australian Water Association has produced practical guidance for keeping essential workers safe. The information sheets below are tailored to international water utilities.

INFORMATION SHEET IN ENGLISH

INFORMATION SHEET IN VIETNAMESE

INFORMATION SHEET IN KHMER

Information Sheet in Indonesian

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also developed the below guidance note on water, sanitation and health-care waste relevant to viruses (including coronaviruses). It also provides details on hand hygiene, sanitation, protecting WASH workers and supporting the continuation and strengthening of WASH services, especially in under-served areas.

DOWNLOAD GUIDANCE NOTE

Practical guidance videos

Together with our in-country partners we have developed a series of COVID-19 guidance videos sharing experience and lessons learnt from Australian, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia water utilities response to the pandemic.

VIEW VIDEOS IN ENGLISH

VIEW VIDEOS IN VIETNAMESE

View videos in KHMER

VIEW VIDEOS IN INDONESIAN

Tools

Riverina Water have developed the following COVID-19 planned response tool to support their targeted response to different COVID-19 risk levels, varying from no confirmed cases of COVID-19 to a forced government shutdown.

DOWNLOAD RESPONSE TOOL

Aqwest Water have developed an Occupational Health & Safety Handbook to assist workers in maintaining social distancing efforts, stopping the spread of the virus, and remaining healthy while working on site and from home.

DOWNLOAD OHS HANDBOOK

Preparation, response and recovery FAQs

The following information and resources have been designed to give international utility representatives access to immediate technical advice by connecting them with Australian water and wastewater utility experts. The below information summarises key discussion threads and answers provided.

FAQ IN VIETNAMESE

FAQ IN INDONESIAN

FAQ IN ENGLISH

Do you have a question about water utility response and recovery approaches to COVID-19? Ask us!

ASK A QUESTION HERE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have also prepared a Water and COVID-19 FAQ page. For further information click here.

Environmental surveillance of coronavirus

The Australian Water Association and Water Research Australia have partnered to transfer leading Australian innovation in the environmental surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 to support the Governments of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand to prepare, respond and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click here to view the media release.

For further information on the project please click on the information sheets below:

INFORMATION SHEET IN ENGLISH

INFORMATION SHEET IN VIETNAMESE

INFORMATION SHEET IN KHMER

INFORMATION SHEET IN THAI

INFORMATION SHEET IN LAO

INFORMATION SHEET IN BURMESE

International webinars and virtual forums

The Australian Water Association, together with VWSA and PERPAMSI, facilitated two virtual forums for water and wastewater utilities across the Asia-Pacific to share approaches and lessons learned during COVID-19. The presentation slides from the Vietnamese and Indonesian virtual forums can be accessed below.

VIETNAM VIRTUAL FORUM PRESENTATION SLIDES

INDONESIA VIRTUAL FORUM PRESENTATION SLIDES

WATCH VIETNAM VIRTUAL FORUM (ENGLISH)

WATCH VIETNAM VIRTUAL FORUM (VIETNAMESE)

WATCH INDONESIA VIRTUAL FORUM (Indonesian)

The Australian Water Association and PERPAMSI facilitated a virtual forum in November 2020 for Indonesian and Australian water and wastewater utilities to share experiences and lessons learned from their response to the pandemic and present on progress made to overcome challenges faced.

INDONESIA VIRTUAL FORUM PRESENTATION SLIDES

WATCH INDONESIA VIRTUAL FORUM (INDONESIAN)

The Australian Water Association will be organising future virtual forums and webinars with Australian, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Indonesian water utilities.

EXPRESS YOUR INTEREST TO JOIN

The Indonesian Water Association (PERPAMSI) has also organised webinars recently in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can access the recordings by clicking on the links below.

Webinar: The Concept of Building a SCADA System

Webinar: Strategy for Improvement of Regional Utility Water Supply Performance

Webinar: Calculation and Submission of Drinking Water Tariff Adjustments

Webinar: Control of Commercial Water Loss Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Webinar: Management of Meter Reading and Account Billing during COVID-19

Webinar: Designing Effective Working from Home Procedures for Water Companies

Webinar Material: Utility Risk Management Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ozwater'20 Online session

As part of the Ozwater'20 Online conference, a session on Tuesday, 9 June shared experiences from several Australian water utilities on their preparation, response and recovery approaches to ensure the continuity of essential water services and the health and safety of water and wastewater utility workers.

It also presented ground-breaking research from Water Research Australia on their ColoSSoS Project – an innovative, and collaborative Australia-wide investigation that aims to integrate reliable results of sewage testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus with health data for COVID-19.

VIEW AGENDA FOR THIS SESSION

WATCH THE SESSION RECORDING*

*Only available to Ozwater delegates

Challenges in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia

In collaboration with its partner associations, AWA has undertaken surveys of water utilities in Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia to understand challenges, information needs and response approaches to COVID-19.

Summary of challenges

A summary of the key challenges identified in the surveys of water operators are summarised below.

Cambodia

  • Network expansion constraints (labour / access to site / etc.)
  • Employees remaining at home and not wanting to come to work, collect bills and/or interact with customers
  • Ability for utility to repay existing loans and/or attract new finance
  • Reduced ability of customers to pay utility bills on time
  • Increased water demand through customers staying at home during a low water security / dry period
  • Increased cost of water production
  • Interruptions to supply chain (e.g. chemical shortage)

Vietnam

  • Shortage of supply chain (chemicals, equipment, etc.)
  • Shortage of PPE for staff
  • Increased cost of water production (higher price of chemicals)
  • Reduction in revenue
  • Increased water consumption (people staying home and are required to have more frequent hand washing)
  • Staff avoiding manual water meter reading, collecting bill payments and dealing with emergencies

Indonesia

  • Maintaining connection rates and providing water to informal settlements
  • Ability to freeze or reduce payment of water bills for certain customer groups and manage revenue loss
  • Ability to undertake meter reading and account billing
  • Implementing work-from-home arrangements
  • Ability to manage risks during and after COVID-19
  • Obtaining tariff subsidies from the local government to provide support to customers

Following the virtual forum in Indonesia, PERPAMSI and AWA have summarised the challenges and priorities facing Indonesian water and wastewater utilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

VIEW SUMMARY OF PRIORITY ISSUES FACING PDAM AND PD PAL

Summary of poll results from virtual forums

A series of polls were taken during the Vietnam and Indonesia COVID-19 virtual forums to further understand the challenges participants are facing.

Vietnam

  • 57% of participants reported impacts to supply chains, as well as changes to spending and reporting requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 29% of participants reported their ability to manage organisation risks during the COVID-19 pandemic as their most important challenge
  • 63% of participants requested further support in supply chain risk management and business impact assessments during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

VIEW COMPLETE POLL RESULTS

Indonesia

  • 60% of participants reported impacts to customer concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 42% of participants reported maintaining supply and servicing public facilities as the most important challenge
  • 47% of participants requested further support in incident management guidance during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

VIEW COMPLETE POLL RESULTS

Knowledge identified from Australian utilities

The knowledge products identified from Australian utilities include:

Guidance materials

  • Signage / symptoms charts
  • Information notes for water operators
  • Ergonomic guidance for home-based work
  • Incident management guidance specific for COVID-19 incident

Tools

  • Risk/restriction matrix
  • COVID-19 response matrix
  • Dedicated COVID-19 webpages of utilities
  • Zoom and MS Teams Hygiene practices/advice
  • COVID-19 OHS Handbook for staff
  • Pandemic Response Plan
  • Online Work Order
  • Risk assessments for field-based work
  • Business Continuity Plans
  • Business Impact Assessments
  • Organisational pandemic plan
  • COVID response team (daily meetings, keeping staff informed)

Other resources

  • Staff communication plans
  • Customer communication packages for contractors
  • Managing supply chain risks
  • Communicating across the workforce the utility's priority
  • Financial support packages, customer hardship approaches
  • Incident Management Plan (power and/or network failures)
  • Crisis management activation
  • Science on the fate and inactivation of COVID-19

The outcomes from these surveys will help shape future activities, ensuring the supply of Australian knowledge meets the demand in overseas countries.

Further information and resources

International

Advisory note: Ensuring the safety of your building water system post COVID-19 restrictions

Alert Level 4 to Level 3 Changes for Watercare NZ

American Water Works Association COVID-19 resources

Business Continuity Planning for Water Utilities: Guidance Document

Business Continuity Plan Template

Canadian Water and Wastewater Association COVID-19 resources

Global Water Operators’ Partnership Alliance COVID-19 resources

How COVID-19 is changing the world: A statistical perspective

Interim technical note on water, sanitation and hygiene for COVID-19 response in slums and informal urban settlements

Isle utilities COVID-19 resources and webinars

New Zealand COVID-19 Construction Protocols

PERPAMSI video: What can PDAM do to prevent coronavirus?

Preparedness and Response Practices to Support Water System Resilience

Responses for Talent Managers in Utility Companies

The response of HAMBURG WASSER to COVID-19 and lessons learned

Utilities’ Support to Inclusive WASH Access

Vietnam: a COVID-19 success story

Water Utility COVID-19 Pandemic Management Plan – key guidelines

Watercare’s pandemic plan

WHO operational planning guidelines to support country preparedness and response

World Bank: Financial Impact Assessment Tool for Water and Sanitation Providers (in Excel format here)

Your Guide to Perfect PPE

Australia

The AWA and other organisations have developed a number of practical resources and information to support Australian water utilities during COVID-19, linked below.

A practical guide on COVID-19 for the water industry

Recommendations for Employment & Economic Activity by the Water Industry

News articles about COVID-19

Water Research Australia: SARS-CoV-2 Known and Unknowns

Coronavirus in water environments: Occurrence, persistence and concentration methods

We welcome your contributions to share positive messages of how you are responding to COVID-19. If you have any practical experiences you'd like to share, get in touch with our International Manager, Paul Smith. Or share them with us on our social media channels.