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How has the water sector coped with coronavirus? | June 2020
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has been extremely difficult for many. But it’s not hard to imagine how much worse the lockdown could have been without continued access to essential utilities such as water.
The resilient attitudes displayed by all working in the water sector over this period have been remarkable, with everyone pulling together to keep the industry operating and deliver an essential service to everyone throughout this difficult period.
Adam McGlead, Director of Water & Environment at Matchtech, talks about the impact of Covid-19, how the industry reacted, and what the future looks like as part of the new AMP7 funding cycle.
Watch the video to find out more, or read some of the highlights below.
Initial impact of Covid-19
“Initially, following the decision to enter a period of lockdown, the water industry was largely affected in the same way every other industry was, with all but the most essential of activities coming to a halt.
This did ease somewhat in the early weeks, with the designation of water as an essential service. This allowed a large number of our clients to reopen some of their construction sites to allow people, in limited numbers, to return to offices or to continue working remotely.”
A new AMP cycle
“The start of April actually represented a big milestone in the water industry, with it being the official start of AMP7; a new five year funding cycle for the industry, with a huge amount of money to be spent over the next five years.”
“This then stimulated further activity with a large number of water utility companies then realising that, although we’re in a period of lockdown, the world can’t come to a standstill and there is still a lot of work to deliver over the next five years.”
“[Clients then started] to look at ways that they could remotely on-board people and engage with the workforce that they needed to deliver their outcomes over the next five years.”
“The development of safe operating procedures then allowed more sites to return, more construction sites to reopen, more people to return to those sites under safe working practices and largely help the industry to continue moving.”
“Fast forwarding another few weeks to where we are now; we’re actually now starting to see some of that AMP spend land in places like Welsh Water; we’re seeing the announcement of big projects in Thames Water; we’ve seen major construction sites and major projects like (Thames) Tideway remobilise and reopen, looking at delivering against the now tighter programmes that they’ve got.”
“Largely the water industry has coped really well with the period of lockdown and now the relaxed restrictions that we’re operating under.”
“We’re really grateful to all of our clients and to all of our contractors and to our candidates for the way that they’ve adapted to the strange working conditions that we find ourselves under and how they’ve managed to progress and continue to deliver what is an essential service to all of the public.”
“The outlook now for the remainder of the year is very positive. The programme for AMP7, a five year programme, is already condensed, as we’re a little bit constricted having started in April, but not really mobilising in anger yet.”
“The outlook for the next five years is very very positive, and we’re going to be working as closely as we can with all of our clients, contractors and candidate workforce to look at resourcing plans and to look at meeting those challenges in what’s already a skill-short market to meet the objectives of our clients, the end-water utilities companies, and delivering the essential service that the public needs.”
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