News Mar 25, 2020

Service Never Stops: Water, Wastewater Providers Play a Critical Role in Stemming COVID-19

The Global Water Leaders Group shares a virtual look at how some members of the Leading Utilities of the World initiative, for which Jacobs serves as a Foundation Partner, have been responding to the outbreak.

Service Never Stops

As the world grapples with the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jacobs Global Director of Water Peter Nicol shares his thoughts on the critical role of water/wastewater service providers during this time. 

Water and wastewater services are crucial every day, but now more than ever, we’re seeing the immense and immediate impact they have in ensuring our health, safety and well-being.

Imagine what it would be like in our current pandemic if we didn’t have safe, abundant water supplies to wash our hands or the wastewater treatment necessary to keep our environment clean and safe? And, what would we do with all that toilet paper we’re hoarding?

Water and wastewater utility service providers are on the frontlines working around the clock and putting themselves at risk of exposure to ensure their customers uninterrupted, critical water and wastewater services.

I encourage you to watch a new video, “Resilience, adaptation and hope: How water utilities are implementing business continuity during COVID-19.” Developed by the Leading Utilities of the World, the video highlights how water and wastewater utilities in China, Italy, England and Los Angeles are keeping vital water services going, all the while protecting their employees and the public.

Through remote working, resource management and automation, they’re providing an essential public service. And where people are unsheltered, living in the streets, the water service providers are creating sanitation stations, so all have access to life-saving water. They’re sharing their stories and best practices in hopes of us all learning from and helping each other in this crisis through greater collaboration, experience-sharing and knowledge-pooling.

These times are like none I’ve seen in my lifetime, but I am reassured by our industry’s preparedness, innovation and resolve. We all hope to do our part. For my part, I would personally like to thank every water and wastewater provider I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years. They are such bright spots in these not so sunny days – some of the many heroes among us! I also want to extend a special thank you to my colleagues, Jacobs’ own 2,500-person operations management and facilities services team, who are providing our clients and their customers uninterrupted, critical water and wastewater services at hundreds of facilities across the globe. My sincere thanks to you all and the many other essential service providers keeping our communities connected during this time.

Be safe, be well!

As Jacobs’ Global Director for Water, Peter Nicol leads a team of more than 6,000 visionaries and doers to develop innovative, sustainable and comprehensive solutions for tomorrow: A modern storage system for California’s scarcest and most valuable resource. A sewage management system in Hong Kong that converts sludge into electricity. Protection for our world’s coasts against rising oceans and variating weather. No matter the challenge, Peter and the Jacobs team work with clients and partners to make smart, sustainable decisions at all points in the water cycle—from water supplies to treatment, conveyance, wastewater treatment, reuse and return to the natural environment. Peter holds a bachelor of applied science degree in geological engineering and applied earth sciences from the University of Toronto.