The Pacific Institute’s mission ─ to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges ─ is more vital now than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the value of water and its connections to human health, but it has also highlighted longstanding water management deficiencies. For example, we know hand washing is one of the most effective ways for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. Yet 40% of the global population – three billion people – live without soap and water available at home. In the face of COVID-19, they are among the most vulnerable and most at risk of being left behind.
This challenge faces communities across the United States, including in California. In fact, more than two million Americans lack running water and indoor plumbing, and millions more can’t afford basic water service. To make matters worse, the economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19 is causing unemployment in the U.S. to skyrocket, putting far more people at risk of being unable to pay for water. As part of the our efforts in this area, in September 2020 we prepared Water Recommendations for the Next President, a letter to the next president of the United States outlining our water recommendations in many areas, including public health.
This global health crisis has raised new water-related challenges for local communities, water agencies, and the private sector. Yet, it could also be an important turning point for addressing longstanding water management challenges, including the failure to provide safe and affordable water and sanitation for all. The surge in interest, along with potentially massive investments by the business community and government to mitigate risks and help ailing economies, could provide a rare opportunity for more effective and equitable water policy and management.
The Pacific Institute is committed to providing data, analysis, and recommendations for addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19. In May 2020, we launched a Water and Pandemic Task Force to provide timely and useful analysis and recommendations about the links between water, human health, the coronavirus, and the roles of the public and private sector. The task force was comprised of Pacific Institute staff and included collaboration with groups from around the world.
Explore the work of our Water and Pandemic Task Force, as well as our other recent work on the COVID-19 pandemic and water:
- MAY 2021: Customer Debt and Declining Revenues: The Financial Impacts of COVID-19 on Small Community Water Systems
- FEBRUARY 2021: Hilmar County Water District Case Study: Small Water Systems Need Assistance Applying for Vital Grant and Loan Funding
- FEBRUARY 2021: Sultana Water District Case Study: Financial Reserves Buffer Unanticipated Shocks Amid Rising Expenses and Decreasing Revenue but Assistance Will Be Needed Soon
- FEBRUARY 2021: Village of Chama Case Study: Small Water Systems Need Immediate Assistance Maintaining Operations Through Revenue Shortfalls
- FEBRUARY 2021: Village of Manokotak Case Study: Lockdowns During the Pandemic Challenge Rural Communities’ Economies and Delay Essential Infrastructure Upgrades
ISSUE BRIEFS AND FACT SHEETS
- APRIL 2021: Snapshots of Community Members from Across the Country: Water System Customers Need Assistance With Utility Bills
- MARCH 2021: Financial Impacts of COVID-19 on Small Water Systems: Summary of Impacts in California
- FEBRUARY 2021: Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Business Framework for Water and COVID-19: Rebuilding and Resilience
- JULY 2020: Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Business Framework for Water and COVID-19: Practical Actions to Contain the Pandemic
- JULY 2020: Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Impacts on Municipal Water Demand
- JULY 2020: Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Equity Dimensions of Utility Disconnections in the U.S.
- JULY 2020: Water and the COVID-19 Pandemic: Ensuring Access to Water as Shutoff Moratoriums Lift
- JUNE 2020: Water and the Pandemic: Reopening Buildings After Shutdowns: Reducing Water-Related Health Risks
- MAY 2021: The Impacts of the Pandemic Remain for Small Water Systems and Customers In-Debt
- MARCH 2021: Businesses Can (and Should) Help the World “Build Back Better” in the Era of COVID-19
- JANUARY 2021: The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Continued Toll on Drinking Water Systems and Their Customers
- SEPTEMBER 2020: How Distributed Water Infrastructure Can Boost Resilience in the Face of COVID-19 and Other Shocks
- JULY 2020: How the Coronavirus Pandemic is Affecting Water Demand
- MAY 2020: The COVID Crisis is Slashing California’s State Budget. What Does it Mean for Water Management?
- MAY 2020: Water in the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (“HEROES ACT”) May 2020
- MAY 2020: Want to Help Fight COVID-19? List Your Organization’s Work on the Water Action Hub
- MAY 2020: How Can the World Avoid the Spread of Future Pandemics?
- APRIL 2020: The Environment, Climate, and a Global Pandemic
- APRIL 2020: When Utilities Shut Off Water for the Poor, We Are All At Risk
- AUGUST 2020: Water Resilience in the Age of COVID-19
MAY 2020: No COVID-19 Models are Perfect, but Some are Useful
- MARCH 2020: Hand-Washing Is Critical in the Fight Against Coronavirus, but What If You Don’t Have Safe Water?
- JULY 2020: The World After Coronavirus: The Future of Water
- JULY 2020: Water and the COVID-19 Pandemc: From Risk to Resilience
Learn more about our work on safe and affordable water here.
Explore resources on COVID-19 and water from UN-Water here.
If you are interested in supporting this work financially or through a collaborative partnership, please contact Gunther Korshak, Associate Director of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.