Entries by Circle Blue

Pelosi: Water Key Part of Next U.S. Stimulus Bill

Politicians in Washington began staking their positions for a fourth coronavirus emergency relief bill. In a press call on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated what she said earlier in the week: that Democrats will insist that infrastructure be a central focus of the next stimulus bill and that water will not be ignored. “Clean […]

UN Climate Conference Postponed until 2021

The annual UN climate change conference, scheduled for November in Glasgow, Scotland, has been postponed until 2021, organizers announced. A new date for the 26th edition of the conference, called COP26, is still being discussed. According to interviews with veterans of the UN process, the rescheduled conference will allow negotiators to absorb the implications of […]

California Governor Bans Water Shutoffs During Coronavirus Emergency

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday prohibited California’s public water utilities from disconnecting water service to homes and essential small businesses during the coronavirus emergency because of late payments. The executive order requires utilities to restore service to any home that was cut off after March 4. The order does not eliminate any household water debts, […]

Medical Detectives Look to Sewage for Coronavirus Answers

Sewage tells stories. Epidemiologists have used the residues in sewage to learn about the prevalence of poliovirus and to detect illegal drug use. Now, researchers are using those same methods to trace the new coronavirus in municipal wastewater. The goal is to provide an early warning system to monitor the spread of the virus thorough […]

UN Water Agency Compiles List of Covid-19 Resources

The United Nations’ water agency has compiled information from UN member groups and partners about the water, sanitation, and hygiene impacts of the new coronavirus. The links include technical guidance for water and hygiene services in refugee camps, schools, and healthcare facilities, as well as summaries of agency activities in the fight against Covid-19. Circle […]

WHO Recommends Universal Public Handwashing Access

The World Health Organization published new handwashing and hand hygiene guidelines that are designed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. According to the guidelines, countries should make it a goal to place hand hygiene stations — either alcohol-based rubs or soap and water — at the entrance and exit of every public building, […]

EPA to America: Flush Only Toilet Paper

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rebuked American residents for their bathroom behaviors during the Covid-19 outbreak. Not for handwashing, which is beneficial and encouraged. But for flushing items down the toilet that shouldn’t be flushed. “Flushing anything other than toilet paper, including disinfecting wipes, can damage internal plumbing, local sewer systems and septic systems,” the […]

Tracking State Government Responses to Covid-19

The National Conference of State Legislatures, a trade group, is tracking state legislative responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lawmakers in several states have introduced bills related to water, mostly regarding service disconnections. In New Jersey, lawmakers proposed a bill on March 23 that would prohibit electric, gas, and water utilities from shutting off water service […]

UN Refugee Agency Prepares for Covid-19 in Jordan

Though no cases of Covid-19 have yet been recorded among Jordan’s refugee population, the UN Refugee Agency, the Jordanian government, and their partners are mobilizing resources to prevent an outbreak in crowded camps. In case of supply chain disruptions, aid agencies have secured and positioned a two-month supply of chlorine for water disinfection in three […]

Michigan Governor Orders Water Service Reconnected to Shutoff Homes

Because of health concerns during the Covid-19 outbreak, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered water utilities in the state to restore water to homes where service had been disconnected for overdue bills. “Due to the vital need to ensure that Michigan residents have access to clean water at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, it is reasonable […]

A Warning, from 2016, to the U.S. Water Sector about Pandemics and Disasters

During the Obama administration, the Department of Homeland Security asked an advisory council to prepare a report on the ability of the country’s water and wastewater providers to withstand a disaster. The National Infrastructure Advisory Council’s report, published in June 2016, identified a number of key risks. Natural disasters, including pandemic flu, topped the list. […]

UN Migration Agency Issues Covid-19 Warning for Burkina Faso

The International Organization for Migration is stepping up efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among asylum seekers and internally displaced people in Burkina Faso, which has become a hot spot for the disease in West Africa. “We are concerned that increased displacement creates a fertile ground for more tensions among the population and leads […]