The Australian Water Association (AWA) together with the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA) and Indonesian water supply association (PERPAMSI) facilitated two virtual forums to share approaches and lessons learned between water and wastewater utilities across the Asia-Pacific during COVID-19.
These virtual forums are part of AWA’s program to share Australia’s experience in response and recovery approaches for COVID-19. The program is funded by the Australian Water Partnership through its Australian Telewater Network initiative where water utilities can access information and resources.
The COVID-19 activities build on the AWA’s Water Utility Improvement Program to connect Australian water utilities with water utilities in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia and share knowledge in support of improved water service delivery.
The virtual forums were well attended with over 400 water operators attending the Indonesia webinar and over 150 attending the Vietnam webinar. The interactive nature of these meetings allowed water and wastewater utilities to share the challenges they have been facing and lessons learned from the pandemic to date.
A key focus for most water organisations is support for water operators to undertake their work in a COVIDSafe environment. This includes the implementation of return to work procedures and protocols for undertaking meter reading and account billing safely.
A series of polls were taken during the virtual forums to further understand the challenges participants are facing.
Vietnam virtual forum
The poll findings from the Vietnam virtual forum show that:
- 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
Indonesia virtual forum
The poll findings from the Indonesia virtual forum show that:
- 60% of participants reported impacts to customer concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic
- 42% of participants reported maintenance 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
To access all poll results, presentation materials and video recordings, click here.
The poll results and questions raised by participants have shown a demand for continued knowledge sharing in the development and implementation of business impact assessment, supply chain risk management, incident management guidance and work health and safety guidance for water operators.
AWA, VWSA and PERPAMSI will use the outcomes from these virtual forums to refine future activities related to COVID-19 knowledge sharing across the Asia-Pacific.