COVID-19: Ensuring Safe Water in Sparsely Occupied Buildings

International Water Association covid-19; waterquality; water-management; water-security

Target Audience

Water utilities, health agencies, building owners/ managers, water treatment specialists, risk assessors, service providers, facilities managers, water system maintenance engineers, and water safety groups.


COVID-19 has presented the world with unprecedented circumstances on many fronts. With many people working from home, shops and other businesses being closed, there has been a significant risk that in-building water systems will have suffered from water quality deterioration. Some may have become colonised with bacteria, which may cause significant illnesses and even death in the more susceptible populations. Other water quality deterioration may follow from stagnation in water systems and corrosion of metallic substances. To ensure buildings are safe they need to be risk assessed and managed before re-occupation. Currently, different nations and authorities are proposing diverse guidance. However, there exists a clear lack of consensus on the most appropriate way to achieve safe recommissioning or extended operation under low water use conditions.

This webinar will provide an overview of the risks, including those from legionella and other water quality contaminants. It will provide an understanding of fundamentals of legionella risk management and discussion of the methods that may be applied for onsite testing and assessment. Panellists will provide informed guidance best practices for building managers to ensure safe in-building water quality.

Learning Objectives

After this session, participants will be able to:

• Identify key water quality risks associated with sparsely occupied buildings;
• Understand basic water quality risk management requirements for sparsely occupied buildings;
• Identify appropriate sources of guidance for risk management of water quality in sparsely occupied buildings.


International Water Association


  • Michele Prevost Ph.D. – Polytechnique Montreal, Canada
  • Andrew Whelton Ph.D. – Purdue University, USA
  • Susanne Lee Ph.D. – Leegionella Ltd, UK
  • Stuart Khan Ph.D. – University of New South Wales, Australia