The global spread of the corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) was declared a pandemic by the WHO on March 11, 2020. As the Federal Environment Agency confirms, drinking water, which is “obtained, processed and distributed in accordance with the generally recognized rules of technology”, is “very well protected against all viruses, including corona viruses”.
The corona virus currently has no effect on the energy supply in Germany. The companies regularly carry out risk assessments, as the situation is becoming very dynamic nationally and internationally. As part of its crisis and emergency management, the energy industry has set up processes that are regularly tested, checked and evaluated. These can also apply in the event of a pandemic.
BDEW is in close contact with the companies in the energy and water industries on ongoing developments and the measures taken by the companies, as well as with ministries, authorities and institutions.
From a water management perspective, there are the following challenges:
- Lack of protective clothing and disinfectants
- Bottlenecks in the delivery of goods (e.g. raw materials that are necessary for wastewater treatment)
- Despite the large degree of automation in the company, there are certain functions that have to be carried out and monitored manually to ensure a smooth water supply. There must be exceptions to the quarantine rule for this. Of course, only if there is no infection with the COVID-19 (similar to what applies to doctors). For this, companies could guarantee so-called quarantine islands so that acute problems (such as the repair of pipe bursts) can be remedied.
- Our SMEs face major challenges when staff report sick or do not come to work. For this reason, one should refrain from demanding reporting obligations. The only priority is security of supply and this should be clearly communicated to the Commission.