Turning off the Taps

Concerns raised about the impact of turning off taps in parks and reserves


Local Governments play a critical role in the response to COVID-19. Councils are working with their communities, business and the non-government sector preparing for and responding to the coronavirus pandemic to monitor and coordinate local responses.

Some councils have closed their public facilities which has meant the temporary closure of recreation centres, libraries, public toilets and the turning off of taps in parks and reserves. As a result Shelter WA has received communication from within Local Government and the greater community about how these closures could impact on people who experience homelessness.

It is believed that public taps are being turned off to reduce the spread of the virus as it is believed to remain active on surfaces for a period of time. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

Shelter WA is working with the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) regarding this issue.

No evidence virus spreads through water

Below we have attached links to information from the Environmental Health Directorate at the Department of Health which advises that there is currently no evidence that SARS CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) can spread to humans through contact with water from adequately treated swimming pools or spas and that there is no evidence that drinking water will be affected by the COVID-19 virus or that it is transmitted by piped drinking water supplies.

Shelter WA continues to work with government and the community sector to ensure that all people who are experiencing homelessness, including people who are sleeping rough, are cared for and that we protect and prevent the risk of transitions in this population. We continue to advocacy for the urgent provision of housing, accommodation and service support.