Mirroring challenges throughout the larger economy, many water utilities and service providers are currently experiencing issues with hiring and supply chains, according to the results of a recent American Water Works Association (AWWA) survey.
Forty percent of the utilities that participated in the survey reported issues with hiring, identifying positions that include operators, service technicians, and drivers as among the hardest to fill. In addition, they noted their turnover employee rate nearly doubled to 21 percent as compared to 11 percent earlier this year. In terms of supply chain issues, 72 percent of the utilities reported difficulty obtaining pipes and other infrastructure components. Respondents also reported supply chain disruptions for vehicles (48 percent), electronic equipment (46 percent), and chemicals (45 percent). The survey was the fifth conducted by AWWA to assess the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its members. As such, it also presents other information that might be useful to other utilities, such as on employees’ vaccination status, organization vaccine requirement policies, and office and remote work arrangements. For example, it notes 59 percent of respondents reported at least half of their employees are vaccinated and that most organizations are tracking vaccination status.