To ensure tap water remains safe and available during this public health crisis, Desert Water Agency repairs leaks, replaces failing pipelines and conducts water testing. As field crews continue essential work, Board of Directors and office staff are going virtual and responding to the economic hardship so many are facing.
“The public needs our help now more than ever,” said DWA Board President, Joseph K. Stuart. “Our Agency is working with United Way of the Desert to connect more people with customer relief funds – and it is easier than ever to apply.”
Bill credits are available for any Desert Water Agency customer financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers can now fill out a simple web form for expedited approval (www.dwa.org/h2o). The Agency also decided last month to halt all water shutoffs, to eliminate late fees and to absorb all credit card payment processing fees.
In addition to providing financial help, the Agency is also connecting with the public in other ways. The Agency’s next Board Meeting is Tuesday, April 21 at 8 a.m. and it’s all remote. People can call in to share their input and stay informed – all of the documents are on the web. Details are on the agency’s website (www.dwa.org). These aren’t the only virtual meetings. On Wednesday, April 29 the Agency is hosting a webinar to overview water conservation incentives and plans to host webinars on a variety of topics.
“Right now, people are connecting with others online, so that’s where we need to be,” said Ashley Metzger, Desert Water Agency Outreach & Conservation Manager. “We’re offering virtual water consults and are doing no-touch inspections so people can keep saving water and money.”
The Agency’s K-12 curriculum is also getting a refresh to make it more compatible with remote teaching. Teachers of grades 4, 6 and 10 throughout Desert Water Agency’s boundaries can now access the water-related curriculum, which even includes some gamification to keep students engaged. The Agency is also offering remote class presentations and has put together a new education section on its website (www.dwa.org/learn) with a wealth of videos, activities and resources for students, parents and teachers.
Agency business is available in new formats, too. Plan checks and developer assistance are still available by phone and email – but some construction projects may see some delays due to social distancing requirements for our field crews. The Agency is still ordering critical supplies and making sure vendors, workers and customers due incentives get paid – all while maximizing at-home capabilities. The Agency is working to implement technology to streamline processes for its employees and customers.
“This crisis has required us to be more creative and flexible than ever before,” said General Manager, Mark Krause. “Desert Water Agency will continue to keep water safe and flowing, of course, but our team is also finding new ways to connect with customers.”