COVID-19

ACWA and its member agencies throughout California have recognized the unprecedented threat posed by the COVID-19 virus (coronavirus) and continue to protect their communities by providing timely information and announcements. Consistent messaging, collaboration and coordination with state, federal and other partners ensures that Californians are armed with the best available information. This page is intended to provide up-to-date information and resources that include state, federal and member agencies’ responses to COVID-19. Click on the below drop-down menus to learn more.

Background

COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a respiratory illness that was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Though coronaviruses are common among humans and animals, COVID-19 is a newly emerged virus that has not been detected previously so there is no known vaccine.

COVID-19 is fast spreading and is being reported in territories throughout the world with more than 31,000 cases reported in the United States as of March 23. On March 19, Gov. Newsom issued a stay at home order for all Californians. Symptoms include fever, shortness of breath and coughing, and appear 2-14 days after exposure. Because the virus is mainly transmitted by person-to-person contact, it is important to stay at home or 6 feet away from others, wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. More information on symptoms and prevention can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

State Responses

Agencies continue to provide guidance and information for water and wastewater agencies and customers during the COVID-19 crisis. Information disseminated includes the following:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hosted a free webinar Feb. 10 on COVID-19 vaccinations for water workers
  • The State Water Resources Control Board conducted two surveys of drinking water systems to obtain more information about the financial impacts of COVID-19.
  • State Water Board releases “Guidance and Best Practices for Water System Shutoffs.”
  • State Water Board sends a message stating that the “provision of potable water is an essential function.”
  • State Water Board provides a fact sheet on drinking water systems and a guidance document for public water systems.
  • Gov. Newsom issues Executive Order to authorize local governments to halt evictions and protect against utility shutoffs.

Water Quality Information

In light of heavy news coverage surrounding COVID-19, the CDC and others have released statements on water quality to emphasize the fact that treatment methods remove and kill viruses, including COVID-19. The virus is transmitted from person to person and not through water. Below are examples of how the state and ACWA member agencies are responding to ensure that California communities know that their drinking water is safe and plentiful.

  • The CDC released guidance to ensure the safety of building water systems and devices after prolonged shutoffs.
  • On April 21, the State Water Resources Control Board released a fact sheet highlighting the safety of California’s recycled water and treated wastewater.
  • On March 20, the State Water Board released a fact sheet that highlights California’s safe drinking water standards which require multi-step treatment processes that remove and kill all viruses.
  • ACWA released customizable talking points on March 6 to assist member agencies as they engage with customers who have concerns about safe drinking water.
  • ACWA member agencies assure their customers that drinking water is safe and reliable in news releases, which can be found under “Member Agencies Respond.”
  • The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lets Americans know that they can continue to use and drink their tap water as usual.

Member Agencies Respond

Across the state, member agencies have been responding to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns with both internal and external efforts. ACWA’s members continue to prove that the health and safety of communities is their highest priority. Below are a few (of many) examples of what ACWA member agencies are communicating to their customers.

Assuring customers their water service will continue by suspending late fees and/or shutoffs

Addressing water quality and safety

Declaring local state of emergencies

 Temporarily closing offices to the public

Addressing wastewater issues

Resources

Below are a number of resources available to help ACWA member agencies stay informed.

Funding Resources

  • Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP): The U.S. Department of the Treasury has launched the $25 billion program to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible grantees must apply by Jan. 12, 2021.

ACWA Resources

California Resources

Executive Orders (EO)

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