ACWA Members Rise to Pandemic Challenge by Dave Eggerton Mar 20, 2020 Voices on Water ACWA members throughout California have recognized the unprecedented threat posed by the COVID-19 virus and quickly acted during the past two weeks to inform and protect their communities. Public announcements clearly reassure customers that tap water remains safe and agencies are voluntarily suspending water shutoffs to ensure continued service to their most vulnerable customers. However, what is also happening has nothing to do with reassuring understandably anxious communities. Instead, it had everything to do with the health of those communities. Agency after agency is taking the lead in closing lobbies, ordering non-essential workers home and encouraging online bill payment. Many did so well in advance of recommendations from federal, state and local government. You can view this widespread response to COVID-19 on the member news section at www.acwa.com. Of course, it was our civic duty to do so, as our members are dedicated public servants. We are experienced in emergency response. During one of the recent catastrophic wildfires, you had water district employees operating plants as flames neared them, doing everything they could to keep water flowing to fire hydrants. The men and women behind the water we drink are true heroes who can rise to any challenge. Given the highly localized nature of our industry, whether it is a wildfire or a pandemic, it’s really about the people we serve, who are in so many cases our friends and family members. Here at ACWA, our staff continues working on members’ behalf at home. The Board and I decided to arm employees with the tools they need to work from home, conduct the March 27 Board meeting via teleconference and postpone our Spring Conference & Exhibition until late July. The health and safety of our members, and ACWA employees, comes first. That priority makes any resulting inconvenience vanishingly insignificant given the potential consequences of proceeding with “business as usual.” Our members prove every day that their highest priority is the health and safety of their communities. Now they are fulfilling that commitment in circumstances few, if any of us, have lived through before. It is what we do, and have always done. Delivering safe drinking water is a central part of our mission, but only a part of what we represent.