Water Access in Emergencies
By making sure the requirements are well understood from an early stage, valuable time can be
saved later on. The Practical Action publication: ‘Engineering in Emergencies’ (available here)
details a basic questionnaire for water supply assessment, whilst a more detailed list is supplied
by the WEDC manual. A summary of the main considerations is below:
1. How many people are affected, and where are they?
2. Are any diseases present, or are they likely to appear?
3. Is there currently sufficient water, how long will it last and are there intermittent shortages?
4. Is the water close enough or is there sufficient containers/storage?
5. Does the population practise good hygiene?
6. Is the source contaminated and is treatment necessary?
7. Is chlorination possible without pre-treatment, and can pre-treatment be set-up quickly?
8. Are alternative sources nearby, and can they be developed?
9. If water sources are poor, can tankering be implemented?
10. If tankering cannot be organised, should displaced be relocated?
The following flowchart from the WEDC manual describes a basic selection process for water
sources and treatments in a survival stage, and whether the current site has a feasible supply:
Figure 1: Survival Supply flowchart
for Water Source & Treatment.
Source: House, S.J. & Reed, R.A.
(2004) ‘Emergency Water Sources:
Guidelines for Selection and