Water and COVID-19
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, is presenting challenges across many facets of our lives, and water is no exception. While research related to water and COVID-19 is still emerging, there are some key areas, including safety, access, and infrastructure, where more information is available. Please explore the links below to find practical, credible resources. These will be updated as new information becomes available.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. Read more from the CDC about Water Transmission and COVID-19.
- The California State Water Boards fact sheet: State-Required Treatment Process Removes Viruses, Including COVID-19. Available in Spanish.
- The Public Policy Institute of California interviewed with Dave Eggerton of the Association of California Water Agencies. Eggerton says: “The virus is not a danger to our public water supplies, and buying bottled water in response to it is unnecessary.” Read the full interview.
- The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an update on Coronavirus and Drinking Water and Wastewater, along with a series of frequently asked questions related to drinking water and wastewater treatment. There is also guidance for water utilities. Some US EPA information available in Spanish and several other languages.
- See the UC ANR food and nutrition COVID-19 pages for more information related specifically to food safety and nutrition.
Water Access and Hygiene
- Hand washing is one of the best tools to slow the spread of COVID-19. Read in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.
- Governor Newsom has signed an executive order restricting water shut-offs and ordering reinstatement of some water connections. Read the CalEPA news release on the order. Available in Spanish.
- In addition, the California Public Utilities Commission has a guide to Utility Consumer Protections During California COVID-19 Outbreak.
- Some municipalities are increasing the numbers of hand-washing stations available for the unhoused. This includes Berkeley, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and some other locations (no statewide list currently available).
- The Community Water Center has a comprehensive list of resources related to access, with a particular focus on the southern San Joaquin Valley and the Central Coast. Available in Spanish.
- Given the widespread challenges of toilet paper shortages, people are flushing many non-flushable products, leading to sewage overflows, a public health challenge of its own. It is widely recommended that only bodily waste and toilet paper be flushed, all other items should be placed in the trash. Read guidance from the California Water Boards. Available in Spanish.
- The California Department of Water Resources outlines their Continuing Critical Operations Through Ongoing Public Health Emergency.
Water and COVID-19 in the News
- For news stories specifically related to water and COVID-19, follow the new Circle of Blue dedicated news feed.
- Follow us on Twitter.
UC COVID-19 Resources
Learning Resources for Water in California
The California Institute for Water Resources has many online resources for learning more about water in California:
- Insights webinar series – recorded talks from experts in the UC system and beyond on topics ranging from groundwater to wildfire to drought.
- Silver Solutions webinar series – join the series live on the second Tuesday of the month and/or watch the previously recorded talks from cooperative extension specialists from several UC campuses.
- Drought tips for ranchers, growers, and homeowners – a free, science-based resource on drought-related best practices. Many also available in Spanish at the same link.
- The Confluence – our blog covers a wide range of water issues and experts in California.
Updated 5/15/2020: The information on this page will continue to be updated as new information emerges.