The Stream, April 9, 2020: Arizona Utilities Deliberate Ways to Collect Unpaid Bills Once Covid-19 Crisis Ends

The Global Rundown

Cities in Arizona that have temporarily suspended water shutoffs due to Covid-19 wrestle with how to handle unpaid water bills once the pandemic has ended. Drought threatens crops in Europe that were disrupted earlier in the year by excessive rainfall. Cyclone Harold plows through Fiji, destroying homes and flooding towns. Satellite data compiled by NASA and the German Research Center for Geosciences highlights parched areas of South America. Embattled Tripoli, Libya, endures a wave of water cuts, complicating coronavirus relief efforts. 

“The situation is miserable. Heavy fighting, coronavirus, and now we have electricity and water cuts.” –Aynoor, a resident of Tripoli, Libya, in reference to the current conditions in the city. Tripoli experienced cuts to water and power supply on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, disrupting coronavirus prevention efforts. Libya had 21 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Wednesday afternoon. Reuters

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Covid-19 + Water: Live Blog — The volume of Covid-19 news can be overwhelming. We’ve started a live blog, updated throughout the day, to help you sort through it. It’s a library for how water, sanitation, and hygiene connect to the pandemic, both in the US and globally.

Water Shutoffs Are Suspended, But the Bills Will Still Be DueMany utilities will not disconnect water during the coronavirus emergency. But residents are still required to pay their bills when it’s over.

Covid-19 Crisis Could Decimate Water Utility Revenue, Worsen Affordability Problems — The economy is on ice and unemployment is off the charts. That combination could dent utility budgets and hurt households.

By The Numbers

62 percent Proportion of soft wheat crops in France that were recently rated as good or excellent, compared to 84 percent last year. Dry conditions across parts of Europe are straining wheat crops, which are already at a disadvantage due to intense rainfall that occurred during sowing season. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Twin satellites from NASA and the German Research Center for Geosciences are providing insight into drought conditions across South America. Several countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Venezuela, have received below-average rainfall in recent months, as well as warmer-than-average temperatures. The satellite maps highlight the impact of the rainfall deficit on soil moisture and shallow groundwater storage. NASA

On the Radar

Several Arizona cities have suspended water shutoffs for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, but utilities are grappling with ways to collect delinquent bills once the pandemic is over, especially as the number of non-paying customers spikes in some areas. Most cities say they will continue sending delinquency notices, as well as working with customers to develop payment plans. AZ Central 

In context: Water Shutoffs Are Suspended, But the Bills Will Still Be Due

Tropical Cyclone Harold continues its rampage through the Pacific, moving over Fiji on Wednesday. The storm leveled homes and caused flooding in several areas. So far injuries, but no deaths, have been reported. Al Jazeera


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