Management of personal hygiene in an emergency in a low water environment
Unfortunately, post emergencies there are sometimes substantial damage to water infrastructure
resulting in a significant water shortage.
The minimum water needs in emergency situations are 8L per person per day with 15L per person per
day being preferred. This can be a mix of potable (drinking) water and non-potable (non-drinking) water.
Keep these two water types separate.
When water supplies are critically low the advice is:
Reserve drinking/bottled water for DRINKING, TEETH CLEANING, FACE WASHING and
Use hand sanitizer on your hands before eating. If you do not have hand sanitizer, use drinking
water sparingly to clean hands.
Use clean non-potable water for washing. This can be sourced from a water truck, swimming pool or
non-contaminated water source.
If you have an air con working, place a container under the outdoor
outlet (approx.5-10L per day can be collected).
Procedure for a “bowl wash”(3-5L):
Place a small amount (1-2 L) of clean non-potable water in a
bowl or bucket.
• Using a washer or cloth, wet yourself down with the clean
• Lather up your hands or washer/cloth with soap and wipe
over you body
• Rinse the cloth and wipe down again
• Empty this water and replace with a small amount of clean
• Repeat the wipe down to rinse off.
Alternative options are wet wipes or similar or a low flow/low volume camping shower.
A dampened cloth wipe down can be used for cooling off. Please use a small amount of bottled/drinking
water on a separate cloth if wiping your FACE.
If you are unsure about whether the water is drinkable, boil and then cool.