The best way to protect ourselves and stop the spread of COVID-19 is frequent handwashing. We hear it repeatedly. However, how can this be possible for people who lack access to clean water? According to the United Nations (UN) there are about one third of the global population who don’t have access to safely managed water services and over half lack access to adequate sanitation facilities.

A safe and reliable water supply is essential to human health especially in preventing diseases. It prevents: i) dehydration and malnutrition which is very common in countries that often suffer from droughts like Angola and Zimbabwe in Africa, ii) diarrhea which is caused by drinking contaminated water, and iii) infectious diseases like bacterial and viral infections that can be transmitted by poor hygiene and sanitation.

Water is important in washing germs from our bodies and environment. This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) don’t stop reminding us to always wash our hands to protect ourselves against the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease can be easily spread through droplets transmitted by coughing and sneezing. These droplets are not visible through our naked eyes and can be around in our environment such as on: chairs, tables, shelves, and even in our personal belongings like cell phones, clothes, and bags.

Since it is impossible never to touch anything especially when collecting groceries or running errands outside, washing our hands clean at all times is our best protection against the disease. Of course, social distancing and wearing of face mask are also highly important but there are instances when we can’t keep the two-meter away the recommended distance by the WHO especially in public places.

Strenuous efforts are made by governments and international organizations such as WHO and UN-Water (United Nations Water) to ease the insufficient water supplies problems of some places. They build water stations and install handwashing facilities particularly in high density places such as markets and informal settlements as these areas are prone to the spread of the disease rapidly. They also encourage business owners to place handwashing facilities or hand sanitizers at their entrances to help control the spread of the disease.

The health sectors are working hard to educate people about COVID-19 pandemic especially on: how it can easily spread through communities, the rapid progression of the disease in our body which can lead to death within a few days, how to protect ourselves against this viral disease, and how to control its spread.

As the world continue to improve the water access of communities, there are factors that makes this goal difficult. One is global warming which is causing droughts and extreme floods challenging the water and sanitation systems. Another is high population growth rates which increases the demands on water supplies. There is also insufficient capital investment  especially in developing countries as bringing water to every household would need billions of dollars to achieve.

A person needs at least 50 liters of water a day for personal hygiene, food preparation, and cleaning needs including laundry. It is clear that water is essential to life, unfortunately many lack access to it and suffers harmful effects including the increased risks of getting sick. Now that we are facing COVID-19 pandemic, may we realized how important clean water is and that we should start conserving it as it can greatly help in preventing future pandemic.

Author's Bio: 

Isabella Whitmore is a health enthusiast and supports organizations that aim to promote public health and safety. She likes volunteering for community service projects and writing articles about health, households, and family. You can find some of her work at, an appliance website that offers quality electric kettles which are helpful in ensuring clean water for the family.