Cover Image
close this bookWater Manual for Refugee Situations (UNHCR, 1992, 160 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentForeword
View the documentDrinking water
View the document1. Introduction
Open this folder and view contents2. Assessment and organization
Open this folder and view contents3. The need
Open this folder and view contents4. Immediate response during emergencies
Open this folder and view contents5. Refugee water supply systems
Open this folder and view contents6. Water sources, their protection and development
Open this folder and view contents7. Pumping equipment
Open this folder and view contents8. Water treatment
Open this folder and view contents9. Water storage
Open this folder and view contents10. Water distribution systems
Open this folder and view contents11. Operation and maintenance of water supply systems
Open this folder and view contents12. Management of emergency water supply systems
View the documentAnnex A - Refugee water supply inventory forms
View the documentAnnex B - Approximate daily water requirements in refugee emergency situations
View the documentAnnex C - Guidelines on water quality
View the documentAnnex D - Recommended format for technical specifications for water well construction

Drinking water


Water is essential to life and health. In emergencies it is often not available in adequate quantity or quality, thus creating a major health hazard.


To provide enough safe water to refugees and to meet communal needs in the most cost-effective way.

Principles of Response

· Seek expert advice, coordinate closely with the appropriate national service and involve refugees.

· Ensure consideration of water supply needs when a site for a future camp is selected and its development planned. Coordinate response closely with physical planning, public health and environmental sanitation measures.

· Provide a reserve supply and spare capacity, to meet temporary difficulties and the needs of new arrivals.

· Take account of seasonal variations of quantity and quality of water from any source.

· If at all possible, avoid the need to treat water.


· Organize an immediate, competent assessment of water supply possibilities in relation to needs.

· Carry out an inventory of all known water sources, assess them as accurately as possible in terms of their water quality and quantity and make provisions to protect them from pollution.

· Develop sources and a storage and distribution system to supply a sufficient amount of safe water, including a reserve.

· Ensure regular testing of water quality.

· Set up structure for Organization and Maintenance.