Precautionary measures and governmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first wave have drastically altered daily activities and hence water consumption patterns. Many people had to change their working routines, the organization of childcare and hygiene practices. While first evidence appears on the impacts of COVID-19 on, e.g., carbon emissions, energy demand and water treatment, even indicating an unexpected increase in water consumption during that period, no study has investigated the pandemic’s sole and in-depth implications for water supply so far. This paper investigates hourly and daily water consumption volumes of a utility in northern Germany for the first wave of the pandemic. We performed a linear mixed model to compare the 2020 daily water consumption volumes with previous years. We eliminated the effects of climate using Bayesian statistic in order to carve out and estimate the original COVID-19 effect. We also compared hourly water consumption of similar time periods and calculated the percentage difference between 2020 and the two previous years. Our results reveal about 14.3% (3 968 m3
) higher residential water consumption per day with higher morning and evening demand peaks during the day. We hypothesis that the reasons for the increasing water demand may be found in changed behavioral routines with an important question for water utilities, if and which of these new dynamics may persist after COVID-19 and hence pose a challenge for long-term infrastructure planning.
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