IWA COVID-19 Task Force launches utility survey

IWA COVID-19 Task Force chair Professor Joan Rose

The IWA COVID-19 Task Force has launched a survey to gather the experiences of utilities during the pandemic to help it develop guidance for others. The responses will be used to prepare general lessons and valuable cases to support the utility community around the world.

IWA convened the task force in response to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The IWA COVID-19 Task Force provides a focus for member-led activity on this issue, at the same time providing the sector with an authoritative reference point on science and operational matters.

The guidance and cases from the survey (see link at end) will be shared through various IWA outlets.

The IWA COVID-19 Task Force connects with IWA’s Specialist Group networks, bringing together representatives from many of the most relevant of these, and is chaired by leading microbiologist Professor Joan Rose (pictured), of Michigan State University.

Wastewater treatment has been one of the early focus areas of the task force. The IWA COVID-19 Task Force has worked to prepare a paper on the science relevant to how treatment may remove or inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus (details available shortly), as this is central to questions on matters such as worker health and safety, and water reuse.

Other areas identified early on as being of high interest included wastewater monitoring as a public health tool for helping track the spread of the virus in communities, and the reopening of buildings after lockdowns. These have been two of the areas in which the task force has been closely involved with the series of webinars and online discussions on COVID-19 that IWA has staged. The IWA COVID-19 Task Force has identified key topics and taken a lead on securing speakers, including on the themes of wastewater monitoring and reopening of buildings. TF members have also participated in these events themselves.

The IWA COVID-19 Task Force has been holding regular virtual meetings since early April. It has also established an expert Science Team to provide, in particular, feedback on written outputs of the task force, and an Intelligence & Communications Network. Members of this network have participated in a number of the virtual meetings, to share updates. Likewise, members of the task force have participated in meetings of other networks and organisations.


More information

The utility survey can be completed online at:


For a Word version of the survey, and to keep updated, join the Task Force’s interest group on IWA Connect (please remember to log in) at https://iwa-connect.org/group/iwa-covid-19-task-force-interest-group/timeline