These are unprecedented times, and the UK is still dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak. People are confined to their homes and worried about not just their jobs, but also about the essentials that they need to survive. Water companies have stepped up to the challenge and ensured that consumers will continue to receive uninterrupted water supply.
The water company staff has been declared as the key workers by the government. These key workers are tasked to ensure that the UK does not see any disruption in its vital services. Water and sewerage workers continue to provide their critical public service. Thousands of their personnel are out on the UK streets working on maintenance tasks, identifying and fixing leaks, laying down new pipes and unblocking the sewerage systems.
These water company personnel are essential to maintain the nation’s supply in this crisis. The water industry has assured that the public that it is channeling all available resources into the maintenance of water supply and sewerage service. The sector already put into action its pandemic plans around 2 months ago. The timely steps taken have been crucial to ensuring that clean, safe and reliable drinking water is available for all.
Christine McGourty, who is the Chief Executive for Water UK, requested consumers to ‘help the staff as they help you’. She asked to give a wave to the water company staff that they see on the streets during these tough times. Their vital work is what continues to keep our water supplies safe and functional.
She also asked consumers to not approach any workers that they see repairing some pipes or carrying out any other maintenance/repair work. Consumers should continue to follow the Government’s advice on social distancing.
Apart from their usual jobs, several water companies in Wales and England have also taken measures to help consumers who have their incomes cut or lost their jobs in the crisis. They are encouraging such customers to contact them to receive any help that can be offered. Consumers who are facing any issues with paying their bills on time can reach out to their water supplier for support.
All water suppliers have guidelines and processes in place to help people who are not able to pay their bills for water and wastewater services. People can get in touch via email, the company’s website or the social media to seek the company’s assistance. Phone lines may be busier than usual so people are encouraged to try out alternate channels. There are schemes like payment watching and payment holidays to help customers get through the financial aspects of it.
Companies also continue to utilize Social Tariffs, Water Sure and several other affordability schemes to help people pay their water bills.
A significant portion of the water company workers’ time is being spent in clearing blockages in the sewerage system. They are raising awareness and asking consumers to ensure that they only flush the 3Ps down the loo- pee, toilet paper and poo.
Consumers should ensure that only those wipes that have the ‘fine to flush’ symbol are thrown down the loo. Anything else must be thrown in a separate bin to be disposed of later. Blockages caused due to products such as wipes and kitchen rolls can cause sewer flooding, which leads to raw sewage flooding your bathrooms and kitchens.
Unless necessary, the water company staff will avoid any direct contact with customers. Water companies have also requested people to stay indoors and avoid visiting reservoirs and lakes. Most of the leisure facilities are being closed by the water companies to protect the people and the community. Water UK has also been sharing an infographic with customers that they can refer to for best practices and other advice for these times. As the UK works its way out of the coronavirus crisis, water companies are surely doing more than just their bit to help the public.