Water Access in Emergencies
Tankering involves transporting water in from external sources, and is only to be implemented if
absolutely necessary, due to the huge costs and logistics involved. In some cases there may be
few or no local supplies that are easily accessible, and relocation of a camp may not be possible,
in which case tankering may be the only immediate supply of water. There are several key
considerations for the organisation of water tankering:
1. Management: ensure sufficient organising, monitoring and evaluating of situation.
2. Source: identify and obtain clearance to use nearest available sources.
3. Contracts: it may be necessary to hire in a private firm to provide the service.
4. Route: establish a safe and passable route from source to distribution point.
5. Transport & Equipment: identify appropriate means of transport & required equipment.
6. Fuel: establish means of fuelling for fleet and subsequent cost.
7. Workforce: Identify workforce required for all necessary steps of process.
8. Schedule: calculate how many deliveries and when they are required.
It will also be necessary to identify how to distribute the tanked water fairly and evenly; using
interim filling stations to store delivered water (see section on distribution, transport & storage). A
brief guide to tankering logistics is available from WEDC (Reed, B. 2011) here.
If there are local groundwater and surface water sources that are available to use, it is necessary
to protect them as quickly as possible, preventing contamination. This corresponds with
guidelines for sanitary provision, locating latrines and washing facilities away from and
downstream of water sources. It is also import to ensure that latrine facilities are located downhill
from any groundwater sources.
Wells, springs, rivers and tankering collection points can all be guarded by fencing and drainage
areas; the appointment of supervisory guards may well be necessary. A simple diagram of
controlled access to a river water source is shown below:
Figure 4: Controlled access to
a river water source
Source: Davis, J. and
Lambert, R. (2002)
Provide distribution, transport and storage
It is likely that provision of water will be
distributed from only a few points, which need to
be carefully controlled. In keeping with the
protection of sources, water should be distributed
by a controlling organisation, rather than letting
people collect themselves. Whilst it is important
to de-centralise water supplies as the
reconstruction process progresses, strict control
at the beginning is necessary to prevent
Figure 5: Water distribution point Source: Davis, J. and Lambert, R. (2002)