Bringing together a utility incident management team
Damian Wells, the managing director of Australian water provider Coliban Water, has been praised for his proactive efforts in reorganising the utility as well as proactive communications during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an Aquatech Online article headlined ‘How water utilities are communicating on Covid-19’, the utility was referenced for its frequent and transparent communication.
In an online video interview, Wells said: “Australia saw what was happening first in China, and then more recently in Europe and now the US. This made us think wow, what are we going to do here in Australia?”
He referenced Daniel Andrews, the premier of Victoria and the chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton, who gave a press conference that announced the planning for “school closures and various economic impacts”. "At that point, I knew that this was real and the impacts were going to be deeply felt across the Victorian economy and community in which Coliban Water operates,” he said.
Three tips for water utility leaders
The next day the managing director set up an incident management team, quickly putting in place a plan for team rostering, scenario planning as well as defining the messaging for the Coliban Water community.
“Very early on we were surprised by the panic buying and stores running out of toilet paper, and other goods such as flour and rice,” he added.
“What surprised me was bottled water supplies running out. We knew we had to put out messages early detailing the safety of drinking water from the potable drinking water plants we run. So we started this message early.”
In an exclusive video interview with Aquatech Online, Wells highlights his three top tips for water utility leaders when it comes to communication during the pandemic (video below).