Covid-19 crisis could decimate water utility revenue, worsen affordability problems

The widespread closure of restaurants, manufacturing facilities, theaters, dentist offices, and universities will reverberate not only in jobs reports. The shutdown will also have immediate and potentially long-lasting consequences for America’s water utilities and the people they serve.

Not all of the country’s roughly 50,000 public water systems share the same vulnerabilities, analysts say. But all will be affected in some way by changes in water use patterns and prohibitions on turning off water service. They will have customers who are suddenly jobless and cannot pay their bills on time. Late payments could increase. With businesses closing, water sales, which fund the majority of utility budgets, could decline, especially for utilities that rely on a few large industries for the bulk of their revenue.

Read more from Brett Walton with Circle of Blue here.