Impacts of COVID-19 on daily water use: Have people started using more water?

(1) Etec Tereza Aparecida Cardoso Nunes de Oliveira, Brazil
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In São Paulo, as well as every other city around the world, water is an invaluable natural resource. More than a necessary input for production and a strategic resource for economic development, it is vital for the maintenance of biological, geological, and chemical cycles, which keep ecosystems in balance. There is a shortage of water in the world, and this situation is aggravated by social inequality, the lack of sustainable management, and use of natural resources. The purpose of this research was to discover if, during the quarantine of COVID-19, there was an increase in the daily use of water in the city of São Paulo and, if this happened, to understand why and to investigate its impact on reservoirs. We hypothesized that, during the COVID-19 quarantine, water consumption increased exponentially due to virus precautions. Based on our hypothesis, we carried out a survey where we interviewed 100 people in the São Paulo capital. Most reported that water consumption in their homes increased, according to our research; for example, we discovered that individuals who took an average of five-minute showers increased their time to sixteen-minute showers. This phenomena worsened the water shortage situation in many reservoirs in São Paulo. The findings from our study can be used to further help solve water waste problems.

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