Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) spread-prevention actions on urban water consumption

Resour Conserv Recycl. 2020 Dec;163:105098. doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.105098. Epub 2020 Aug 6.


This article aims to assess the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) spread-prevention actions on water consumption, based on a case study in Joinville, Southern Brazil. Residential water consumption data, obtained through telemetry in two periods (before and after a governmental action imposing quarantine and social isolation), were analyzed. Complementarily, the analyses were also applied to the commercial, industrial and public consumption categories. For the analysis, Wilcoxon and Kruskal-Wallis non-parametric tests were applied and Prais-Winsten regression models were adjusted. The results of the Wilcoxon test show that there are significant differences between the analyzed periods, indicating a water consumption drop in the commercial, industrial and public categories, and an increase in the residential category. The regression model results confirm the effect of the restrictive actions in reducing consumption in non-residential categories. The results also indicate an increase in water consumption, which was steeper in apartment buildings than in houses, whether isolated or grouped in condominiums. A weak association was found between the variation in water consumption and the spatial distribution of buildings. Understanding water consumption related aspects is important to gather essential information to ensure the urban water supply system is resilient in a pandemic situation.

Keywords: COVID-19; Urban environment; Water consumption.