In-Brief

EPA unveils tool to help water utilities assess financial impact of COVID-19

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a new tool to help water utilities assess the financial impact of COVID-19 on operations, as they continue to provide drinking water and critical wastewater services during the pandemic

This new tool will help provide information about the financial and operational health of water utilities, which play an integral role in protecting human health and the environment for our nation.

The online assistant is available for the island’s Puerto Rico water utilities, including the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, EPA officials confirmed.

“It’s important for water utilities to understand — as early as possible — how to carry out their responsibilities and plan reinvestment for their communities as local economies start to recover from COVID-19,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“This tool will support the financial resilience of water utilities today and into the future by providing in-depth insight into how operations during COVID-19 have affected their financial standing,” he said.

Many water utilities expect to experience revenue losses due to reduced commercial consumption, households that are unable to pay their bills, and deferred or cancelled rate increases, the agency said.

Water utilities also anticipate incurring increased costs related to overtime wages, personal protective equipment purchases, and increased demand on customer assistance programs.

Developed by EPA’s Water Infrastructure and Resiliency Finance Center, the Water Utility COVID-19 Financial Impact Tool leads water utilities through a series of questions that can determine how their revenues, expenses, and cashflow have been affected.

This tool will help water utilities understand their own financial health as they plan for ongoing operation and maintenance and capital infrastructure needs, including implementing plans to repair, replace and modernize aging infrastructure, the EPA said.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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