Water insecurity compounds the global coronavirus crisis

Chad Staddon, M. Everard, Julie Mytton, T. Octavianti, W. Powell, N. Quinn, S. M. N. Uddin, S. L. Young, J. D. Miller, J. Budds, Jo-Anne Geere, Katie Meehan, K. Charles, E. V. J. Stevenson, J. Vonk, J. Mizniak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


In recent weeks, people all over the world have been settling into a ‘new normal’ of restricted mobility, online working, social distancing and enhanced hand hygiene. As part of the global fight against the spread of COVID-19 (the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2), we are repeatedly reminded by public health authorities that frequent and thorough hand-washing with soap and water is one of the best ways of limiting transmission. The rationale behind this is clear: washing regularly and thoroughly physically degrades and removes viral particles from hands, and therefore lowers the likelihood of infection transmission. Many health agencies are recommending washing hands for a minimum of 20 seconds up to 8–10 times per day. If washed in running water, the average hand basin tap uses 2–3 litres per minute, which implies a total water requirement of 8–10 litres of clean water per person per day, as well as appropriate soap and drying facilities (i.e. not a reused and possibly contaminated towel or rag).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-422
Number of pages7
JournalWater International
Issue number5
Early online date9 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020

Cite this