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close this bookWater and Sanitation in Emergencies - Good Practice Review 1 (ODI, 1994, 120 p.)
close this folder3. The Operating Environment: General Considerations
View the document(introduction...)
View the document3.1 The political context
View the document3.2 Conflict areas
View the document3.3 Technological considerations
View the document3.4 Climatic considerations
View the document3.5 Common characteristics of displaced and resident populations
View the document3.6 Social and economic considerations
View the document3.7 Management considerations

3.3 Technological considerations

Water and sanitation infrastructure in developed countries will typically be similar to urban supplies in developing countries. It will be dependent upon a high level of technology and this has important implications for an emergency programme. However, a developing country will almost certainly be at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to sustain the provision of technological inputs, as a result of under-resourcing and financing.

A high level of technology means that specialised spare parts; high levels of skill and technical knowledge, and an existing pool of trained and skilled personnel are required, and the whole operation is dependent upon power supplies. This means that agencies will require specialists who are familiar with the technology; the rehabilitation work is likely to be expensive; alternative power sources may be required; and agencies are likely to be funders rather than directly operational.

The checklist below is put forward to help agencies assess the necessary skills and resources required to work in a situation where a high level of technology has been used:

* Are the skills required for a professional assessment available within the organisation?

* If not, can the expertise be found locally, e.g. in government departments, other agencies or local consultants?

* If not locally available, can international consultants be hired?

* Are sufficient funds available to act on the assessment?

* If not, should the agency find them or ask another agency to take over?

* Does the agency have the necessary expertise to implement and manage the proposed programme?

* Is the agency in a better position to act on its own or to advocate action by other agencies?

The emergency-affected population will previously have benefitted from the reliable provision of water and sanitation services. They will probably be used to piped water in their own homes and good individual and water sealed toilet facilities. This could well pose a problem if they are now being asked to live in a camp where they have to collect water from communal water points and to share very basic latrines with other families.