Water demand reduced since emergency measures
There has been substantially reduced demand for public water supply from Watlington Waterworks Limited since the Covid-19 pandemic led to the Bermuda Government declaring a state of emergency on April 4.
The company's management is monitoring the situation and believes the disruption will negatively impact operating results for the year, and possibly beyond.
It said as an essential service, it has continued to provide public water supply, “albeit at substantially reduced demand levels”. It added: “Given the inherent uncertainties, which are substantial, it is not practicable to determine the impact of Covid-19 on the future operating and financial performance of the company or to provide a quantitative estimate of this impact.
“The company is able to continue to operate as a going concern and has substantial cash and investment reserves to sustain itself through any foreseeable downturn with all staff continuing to be employed for the production, storage and distribution of potable piped water and “Pure Water” bottled water and the efficient administration of the company.”
Due to Government guidelines and restrictions related to Covid-19, Watlington Waterworks has decided to postpone its Annual General Meeting, which is normally held in early June. A notice will be issued when a new date is set.
The company also said it recognised the commitment and efforts of its staff “during these unprecedented times”, and thanked management and staff for their commitment to maintain public water supply at the high level of quality service and reliability.
Watlington Waterworks considers the effects from the pandemic to be a non-adjusting event after the reporting period for its directors' report for 2019. In the report, it said the first six months of 2019 had seen weaker performance than previous years due to rainfall being above average, which depressed revenue in its utilities division. However, there was stronger performances in the bottled water division and retail plumbing sales.
Lower rainfall in the second half of the year boosted utility division sales and eliminated the four million-gallon deficit of the first six months. Bottled water sales remained strong in the second half of the year, and the company a new record for retail sales.
The year surpassed expectations and established a new record for net earnings for the company. It said: “This outcome was exceptional given the previous best year was established during the 2017 America's Cup year”.
The company said excavation of a site purchased last year for building a new reservoir and treatment plant was completed in January. It added: “Final permission for development has been granted by the Department of Planning and it is anticipated a building permit will be obtained during the current year. Looking forward the company remains optimistic we will be able to commence construction during the present year, subject to how quickly the island can re-open after Covid-19 can be overcome.”