Water is essential for life, health and human dignity. In extreme situations, there may not be sufficient water available to meet basic needs, and in these cases supplying a survival level of safe drinking water is of critical importance. In most cases, the main health problems are caused by poor hygiene due to insufficient water and by the consumption of contaminated water.
All people have safe and equitable access to a sufficient quantity of water for drinking, cooking and personal and domestic hygiene. Public water points are sufficiently close to households to enable use of the minimum water requirement.
- Needs: the quantities of water needed for domestic use may vary according to the climate, the sanitation facilities available, people’s normal habits, their religious and cultural practices, the food they cook, the clothes they wear, and so on. Water consumption generally increases the nearer the water source is to the dwelling.
- Water source selection: The factors that need to be taken into account are the availability and sustainability of a sufficient quantity of water; whether water treatment is required and, if so, the feasibility of this; the availability of the time, technology or funding required to develop a source; the proximity of the source to the affected population; and the existence of any social, political or legal factors concerning the source. Generally, groundwater sources are preferable as they require less treatment, especially gravity-flow supplies from springs, which require no pumping. Disasters often require a combination of approaches and sources in the initial phase. All sources need to be regularly monitored to avoid over-exploitation.
- Measurement: Measuring solely the volume of water pumped into the reticulation system or the time a hand pump is in operation will not give an accurate indication of individual consumption. Household surveys, Survival needs: water intake (drinking and food) Basic hygiene practices Basic cooking needs Total basic water needs 2.5-3 liters per day 2-6 liters per day 3-6 liters per day 7.5-15 liters per day Depends on: the climate and individual physiology Depends on: social and cultural norms Depends on: food type, social as well as cultural norms Simplified table of basic survival water needs 65 HP/ Watt San Minimum Standards in Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion observation and community discussion groups are a more effective method of collecting data on water use and consumption.
- Quality and quantity: In many emergency situations water-related disease transmission is due as much too insufficient water for personal and domestic hygiene as to contaminate water supplies. Until minimum standards for both quantity and quality are met, the priority should be to provide equitable access to an adequate quantity of water even if it is of intermediate quality, rather than to provide an inadequate quantity of water that meets the minimum quality standard. It should be taken into account that people living with HIV/AIDS need extra water for drinking and personal hygiene. Particular attention should be paid to ensuring that the water requirements of livestock and crops are met, especially in drought situations where lives and livelihoods are dependent on these.
- 5. Coverage: In the initial phase of a response the first priority is to meet the urgent survival needs of all the affected population. People affected by an emergency have a significantly increased vulnerability to disease and therefore the indicators should be reached even if they are higher than the norms of the affected or host population. In such situations it is recommended that agencies plan programmes to raise the levels of water and sanitation facilities of the host population also, to avoid provoking animosity.
- Maximum numbers of people per water source: The number of people per source depends on the yield and availability of water at each source. For example, taps often function only at certain times of day and hand pumps and wells may not give constant water if there is a low recharge rate. The rough guidelines (for when water is constantly available) are: These guidelines assume that the water point is accessible for approximately eight hours a day only; if access is greater than this, people can collect more than the 15 liters per day minimum requirement. These 250 people per tap based on a flow of 7.5 liters/minute 500 people per hand pump based on a flow of 16.6 l/m 400 people per single-user open well based on a flow of 12.5 l/m. 66 Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards Water supply standard 2: water quality Water is palatable, and of sufficient quality to be drunk and used for personal and domestic hygiene without causing significant risk to health. Key indicators. A sanitary survey indicates a low risk of faucal contamination. There are no faucal coli forms per 100ml at the point of delivery. People drink water from a protected or treated source in preference to other readily available water sources. Targets must be used with caution, as reaching them does not necessarily guarantee a minimum quantity of water or equitable access.
- Queuing time: Excessive queuing times are indicators of insufficient water availability (either due to an inadequate number of water points or inadequate yields of water points). The potential negative results of excessive queuing times are: 1) reduced per capita water consumption; 2) increased consumption from unprotected surface sources; and 3) reduced time for water collectors to tend to other essential survival tasks.
- Access and equity: Even if a sufficient quantity of water is available to meet minimum needs, additional measures may be needed to ensure that access is equitable for all groups. Water points should be located in areas that are accessible to all regardless of e.g. sex or ethnicity. Some hand pumps and water carrying containers may need to be designed or adapted for use by people living with HIV/AIDS, older and disabled people and children. In urban situations, it may be necessary to supply water into individual buildings to ensure that toilets continue to function. In situations where water is rationed or pumped at given times, this should be planned in consultation with the users. Times should be set which are convenient and safe for women and others who have responsibility for collecting water, and all users should be fully informed of when and where water is available.
SHRD is planning to install water filtration plants in the backward and remote areas however the condition of water supply is more often bad in the cities of Pakistan too, where children in schools and patients in hospitals are using the same water which is causes water born diseases.
For the better survival of the children in schools and patients in hospitals the project of water filtration plant is in pipe line. SHRD can present the proposal and reliable feasibility report with complete transparence values and the implementation and execution.
The aim of any water and sanitation programme is to promote good personal and environmental hygiene in order to protect health. Hygiene promotion is defined here as the mix between the population’s knowledge, practice and resources and agency knowledge and resources, which together enable risky hygiene behaviors to be avoided. The three key factors are 1) a mutual sharing of information and knowledge, 2) the mobilization of communities and 3) the provision of essential materials and facilities. Effective hygiene promotion relies on an exchange of information between the agency and the affected community in order to identify key hygiene problems and to design implement and monitor a programme to promote hygiene practices that will ensure the optimal use of facilities and the greatest impact on public health. Community mobilization is especially pertinent during disasters as the emphasis must be on encouraging people to take action to protect their health and make good use of facilities and services provided, rather than on the dissemination of messages. It must be stressed that hygiene promotion should never be a substitute for good sanitation and water supplies, which are fundamental to good hygiene. Hygiene promotion is integral to all the standards within this chapter. It is presented here as one overarching standard with related indicators. Further specific indicators are given within each standard for water supply, excreta disposal, vector control, solid waste management and drainage.
Assessing needs: An assessment is needed to identify the key hygiene behaviors to be addressed and the likely success of promotional activity. The key risks are likely to centre on excreta disposal, the use and maintenance of toilets, the lack of hand washing with soap or an alternative, the unhygienic collection and storage of water, and unhygienic food storage and preparation. The assessment should look at resources available to the population as well as local behaviors, knowledge and 61 HP/ Watt San Minimum Standards in Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion practices so that messages are relevant and practical. It should pay special attention to the needs of vulnerable groups.
Sharing responsibility: The ultimate responsibility for hygiene practice lies with all members of the affected population. All actors responding to the disaster should work to enable hygienic practice by ensuring that both knowledge and facilities are accessible, and should be able to demonstrate that this has been achieved. As a part of this process, vulnerable groups from the affected population should participate in identifying risky practices and conditions and take responsibility to measurably reduce these risks. This can be achieved through promotional activities, training and facilitation of behavioral change, based on activities that are culturally acceptable and do not overburden the beneficiaries.
Targeting priority hygiene risks and behaviors: The objectives of hygiene promotion and communication strategies should be clearly defined and prioritized. The understanding gained through assessing hygiene risks, tasks and responsibilities of different groups should be used to plan and priorities assistance, so that misconceptions (for example, how HIV/AIDS is transmitted) are addressed and information flow between humanitarian actors and the affected population is appropriate and targeted.
Managing facilities: where possible, it is good practice to form water and/or sanitation committees, made up of representatives from the various user groups and half of whose members are women. The functions of these committees are to manage the communal facilities such as water points, public toilets and washing areas, be involved in hygiene promotion activities and also act as a mechanism for ensuring representation and promoting sustainability.
Overburdening: it is important to ensure that no one group is overburdened with the responsibility for hygiene promotional activities or management of facilities and that each group has equitable influence and benefits (such as training). Not all groups, women or men have the same needs and interests and it should be recognized that the participation of women should not lead to men, or other groups within the population, not taking responsibility.
A vector is a disease-carrying agent and vector-borne diseases are a major cause of sickness and death in many disaster situations. Mosquitoes are the vector responsible for malaria transmission, which is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Mosquitoes also transmit other diseases, such as yellow fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Non-biting or synanthropic flies, such as the house fly, the blow fly and the flesh fly, play an important role in the transmission of diarrheal disease. Biting flies, bed bugs and fleas are a painful nuisance and in some cases transmit significant diseases such as marine typhus and plague. Ticks transmit relapsing fever and human body lice transmit typhus and relapsing fever. Rats and mice can transmit diseases such as leptospirosis and salmonellosis and can be hosts for other vectors e.g. fleas, which may transmit Lassa fever, plague and other infections. Vector-borne diseases can be controlled through a variety of initiatives, including appropriate site selection and shelter provision, appropriate water supply, excreta disposal, solid waste management and drainage, the provision of health services (including community mobilization and health promotion), the use of chemical controls, family and individual protection and the effective protection of food stores. Although the nature of vector-borne disease is often complex and addressing vector related problems may demand specialist attention, there is much that can be done to help prevent the spread of such diseases with simple and effective measures, once the disease, its vector and their interaction with the population have been identified.