18 November 2021 / Vienna, Austria
The Virus and the Water: Analyzing COVID-19 Impacts on the Sector
Contributed by:
Voice of the Danube
22 November 2021

Looking back on almost two years of global health crisis, a survey and background paper, originally compiled for the Danube Water Conference 2021, takes an in-depth look at the impact if COVID-19 on the water supply and sanitation sector in selected countries of the Danube region. Now it is available for download in the Danube Library.

Originally created in preparation of the Covid-19 Impact session of the Danube Water Conference 2021, the paper focusses on financial, technical and operational challenges of the pandemic in countries of the Western Balkan, Moldova, Ukraine and recent EU member states, providing insights in the overall impact of the crisis and in-depth assessments of impact on selected countries and utilities.

Reviewing the financial, technical and operational challenges posed by the pandemic, the authors find that the crisis has affected physical and mental health, regular staff organization, on-site duties and customer contacts in the WS sector. While survey data show only small increases of household consumption (1-4%), a major decrease of non-domestic consumption (11-14%) took place in 2020. Some global predictions indicate that industrial water demand may fall by average of 27% worldwide.

The crisis increased existing social and economic deficits in the countries, exacerbating already low revenue and debt collection levels in the water service sector. The available information shows that national customer support measures mostly aimed at reducing economic barriers to WS services, rather than providing financial support for operators.

Covid-19 also affected investment in the sector in two thirds of the surveyed cases, reducing investment levels by between one third and three quarters, mostly through Quarantines hampering on-site activities, lack of supplies or external services, and reduced revenues.

The most frequent support measures operators received tax deadlines extensions and tax payment reductions for payments, rather to reduce financial burden to companies during crisis.

The paper concludes that regardless of national or local level sector governance, consistent common service standards and requirements can and need to be introduced at EU-level, covering tariff setting, business and investment planning, performance monitoring and benchmarking. In addition, significant efforts and communication by stakeholders are needed to change attitude and perception by national authorities, politics and public towards WS sector.

Read the complete report under the link below. 

VoD - Impact of the COVID-19 Crisis on the Water and Sanitation Sector in Selected Countries of the Danube Region

The Covid-19 crisis has impacted the water sector in the Danube region, causing financial, technical and operational challenges, and imposed short-term requiring adaptation to the new circumstances and continuing to ensure the saf...