Happy belated World Water Day. It was Sunday, March 22, but you could be forgiven for missing it, since we're all paying attention to the COVID-19 pandemic instead. But what about water and the coronavirus? Here are three things to know.
- In developed countries, the drinking water is safe. The CDC says that conventional treatment—such as basic filtration and chlorination or other disinfection—kills the virus. There should be little concern about drinking the water here, and there is no need to buy bottled water unless your earthquake stash needs restocking. And, as everyone knows who hasn't been living under a rock, soap and water is one of the best defenses for not catching the virus. So drink the water from the tap and wash your hands.
- By the same token, the developing world is not so lucky. Clean drinking water, basic sanitation, and wastewater treatment are already in short supply for millions of people, and those problems will only make dealing with the pandemic more challenging. World water and health experts are worried about how the lack of basic clean water infrastructure will contribute to the virus's spread in many areas.
- Don't flush those disinfectant wipes, no matter what the label says! And if your local grocery stores have been hit by the TP hoarders, definitely don't flush whatever you are creatively relying on instead. Sewage treatment plants are already facing some nasty clogs. I’ll spare you a link to those photos, but just realize that the problem could be up close and personal if your own pipes back up.
We’re all looking for ways to stay safe and healthy in this rapidly changing environment. Knowing that our local water supply is safe is a big item to check off the “what about” list.