With the water sector protecting public health throughout the coronavirus pandemic, WEF administered a quick, informal poll to gain some insights into how this situation is affecting the water workforce. The results below were collected between March 23 and 28.

Utilities and companies are making a variety of adjustments to work schedules and location. Those able have moved to mandatory telework and those required to be on-site have changed work shift lengths to promote social distancing.


Utilities and companies expressed tremendous confidence in the ability to continue operations. More than 90% indicated they have adequate staff availability during the coronavirus pandemic. About 14%, however, noted a rise in absenteeism tied to the situation.




Of some concern is the 21% who indicated they may not have sufficient supplies of PPE (personal protective equipment) necessary for work. This is an area for further examination and possible action by the sector.


The poll had 222 respondents, with 77% public utilities, 10%consultants, 5%private utilities, 6%other, and 2%technology providers. WEF will continue using informal polls to generate insights about key issues in the water sector, particularly during the coronavirus response.



Related Resources

Webcast: Pandemic Continuity of Operations (COOP) Essential Personnel (March 19, 2020)
During the coronavirus pandemic, water and wastewater utilities are currently triggering their response plans for continuity of operations. A significant component during a pandemic is a consideration of critical functions that include essential personnel whose role does not allow for telework. Critical services must continue and COOP activities in the face of potentially severe staff shortages and absenteeism are of concern. This webcast will focus on the role of essential personnel.


Current Priority: Coronavirus

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