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close this bookWater and Sanitation in Emergencies - Good Practice Review 1 (ODI, 1994, 120 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1. Objectives and Intended Audience
Open this folder and view contents2. Water and Sanitation in the Context of Environmental Health
Open this folder and view contents3. The Operating Environment: General Considerations
Open this folder and view contents4. The Operating Environment: Needs Assessment, Co-ordination and Contingency Planning
Open this folder and view contents5. Water: General Principles
Open this folder and view contents6. Sanitation: General Principles
Open this folder and view contents7. Typical Scenarios
View the documentAnnex 1 - Further Resources
View the documentAnnex 2 - Useful Contacts and Addresses
View the documentAnnex 3 - Technical Guidelines
View the documentAnnex 4 - Checklist for Environmental Health Needs Assessment
View the documentAnnex 5 - Practical Ways to Prevent the Spread of Cholera
View the documentAnnex 6 - A Gender Checklist for Environmental Health Actions
View the documentAnnex 7 - Chlorine as a Water Disinfectant
View the documentGood practice RRN review
View the documentHow to order
View the documentRRN

Annex 3 - Technical Guidelines

The UNHCR Handbook for Emergencies recommends a number of guidelines for refugee situations. It should be stressed that these are guidelines and not standards. They should be aimed for as a minimum.



Personal Consumption

15-20 litres/person/day

Health Centres

40-60 litres/patient/day

Feeding Centres

20-30 litres/patient/day



Faecal Coliforms/100ml



Faecal Coliforms/100ml

Polluted = Must Chlorinate


Faecal Coliforms/100ml

Very Polluted


Faecal Coliforms/100ml

Grossly polluted


* Distance to water point

100m maximum

Ratio of taps to users

1 tap/200-250 people

* This is a desirable distance. It has been shown that there is a reverse relationship between the distance people have to walk to collect water and the amount they use, i.e. the further away it is, the less they use. Many constraints will dictate just how far people have to walk. The rule should be to bring the water as close as is feasible, affordable and practical. It should be remembered that, unless good drainage can be provided, bringing water close to people may cause standing water and potential breeding points for mosquitoes.


For design purposes sludge accumulation rates per year inside pit latrines can be taken as:

Waste retained in water where degradable anal cleaning materials are used


Wastes retained in water where non-degradable anal cleansing materials are used


Waste retained in dry conditions where degradeable anal cleansing materials are used


Wastes retained in dry conditions where non-degradeable cleaning materials are used


(From Franceys, Pickford and Reed, 1992; Wagner and Lanoix, 1958 in Annex 1)

These rates relate to slow accumulation. Experience from emergency conditions has shown that accumulation is very much more rapid. For design in these situations consider multiplying the accumulation rate by 150-200%.


Distance to latrines

50m maximum (ideally)

Distance from shelters

6m minimum

Distance from water source eg. spring, tubewell

30m minimum


This is included more in reference to environmental health than specifically to water and sanitation

Sheltered accommodation

3.5 m2/person floor space

Total space excluding provision for communal, agricultural and livestock.

30 m2/person