#Coronavirus Outbreak Tests Resilience Of Western Water Workforce — KUNC #COVID19

Willimas Fork River: Photo credit: By US Geological Survey – http://nwis.waterdata.usgs.gov/nwisweb/local/state/co/text/pics/09038500big.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49186202

From KUNC (Luke Runyon):

Water agencies throughout the West are changing their operations during the coronavirus outbreak to make sure cities and farms don’t run dry.

Their responses range from extreme measures to modest adjustments to ensure their most critical workers don’t succumb to the virus.

In San Diego, leadership at the Carlsbad desalination plant asked staff to volunteer for a 21-day isolated stay at the facility. A second set of workers are self-isolating at home to arrive on site for their stay at the treatment plant should the outbreak extend beyond the initial 21-day period.

Many others aren’t taking as drastic a step as asking employees to live at work. The water agency for millions in southern California, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, is scaling back on-site staff and increasing telework capabilities for a portion of its workforce.

In Colorado, two Front Range water providers aren’t to the point of asking workers to house on-site at pumping, treatment or dam sites…

As of now Northern’s operations have continued without interruption, and the agency is preparing for a spring snowmelt runoff likely to ramp up in the next few weeks, Stahla said.

Some water treatment facilities ran with minimal contact among workers even before the threat of coronavirus, said Todd Hartman, a spokesman for Denver Water.

“Water treatment plants readily operate with people spread apart in different sections of the facilities,” Hartman said. “Social distance is also easy to achieve at our dams and reservoirs.”

Some of Denver Water’s critical infrastructure already house year-round caretakers to keep an eye on remote dam operations, Hartman added. That’s also true of the city of Colorado Springs’ Grizzly Reservoir in the mountains outside Aspen.

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