The three main themes the discussion focused on:
- Proactive communication is key in shaping community sentiment, cooperation and in containing issues during times of crisis. Utilities should take a customer focused approach in spreading urgent information to foster community engagement. As long as communication with the public is clear and consistent, customers will take action.
- Business continuity hinges on staff’s ability to complete their work remotely without disruption. Adequately equipping staff with the right tools and evaluating processes to allow staff members to continue their work is critical as is acknowledging staff for their dedication and hard work.
- The pandemic’s effect on revenue changes will inevitably lead to utility rate increases. Policy changes from the federal and state level is hopeful, but more than ever utilities should prioritize aid for those that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. Water affordability will continue to be an essential building block for resilient water systems.
Brett Walton writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States (2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014).
Jon Corwin has served as Global Water’s Vice President and General Manager since September 2017. He previously held roles as the Maricopa-Casa Grande Regional Manager and the Operations Program Manager. Mr. Corwin joined Global Water in 2011 after serving eight years as a Civil Engineering Officer in the United States Air Force where his primary duties included managing infrastructure construction and maintenance at multiple Air Force bases. While in the Air Force, he served in a variety of capacities; including, civil construction, base utility engineer, maintenance engineer, and emergency manager in both stateside and deployed locations. Mr. Corwin holds a degree in Civil Engineering from the United States Air Force Academy, with an emphasis in structural engineering. He also holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business.
Jason Lillion has worked in the water industry in almost every aspect for more than 20 years. He has served the Indian Wells Valley Water District as a Customer Service Representative, Maintenance Operator, Assistant Operations Manager and now, for the last 8 years as Operations Manager. During this time he has led the charge in embracing technology to better serve the District and its customers, managed the District’s recovery after a 6.4 and 7.1 magnitude earthquakes rocked the town of Ridgecrest in less than 36 hours. Today, Jason also manages the district’s response to COVID-19.