Will Supply Management Be Added to the List of Challenges to Water Utility Managers?

Water utilities were already facing a long list of challenges before COVID-19. Add to the list employee health protection, shutoff moratoriums, intensified affordability issues, unstable cash flow, the inability to foresee the “new normal” and matters become more complicated. It’s probable the list will continue to grow. Will supply management, defined as — identifying, acquiring and managing resources and supplier relationships that are essential to operations — be added to this list of challenges?

According to AWWA, 56% of utilities surveyed indicate experiencing PPE supply chain issues due to the pandemic. In the early stages of the emergency there were expressed concerns of interruptions to the supply chain for treatment chemicals. These supply chain issues may be short term, or not. What we are experiencing isn’t a typical risk event. The scale surpasses anything that even the savviest supply chain leaders could have anticipated.