Water Sanitation Health

Rehabilitating small-scale piped water distribution systems

Technical note 4 on drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene in emergencies

Steps 2 - 4: Communication and water supply

Step 2: Keep consumers informed

It is important to keep water users informed about what is happening and how you propose to deal with the situation. Let them know which sections of the network are affected, what you intend to do and when, and what they should do to protect their health and safety. Communication is an ongoing responsibility and regular updates should be provided.

Step 3: Provide an alternative water supply where necessary

If damage to the network is major, and repairs will take more than a few hours, an alternative supply must be provided. This could take the form of bottled drinking water, water delivered directly by tanker, and water tankers delivering to temporary storage tanks. Combine this with advice about local sources of water (such as springs or wells) which might be used for other, non-drinking purposes.

Provide information about simple water treatment options and the availability of chemicals to disinfect local sources.

In all cases, customers must be informed about what is being done and how they can use the temporary system effectively.

Step 4: Isolate damaged sections of the network

The affected area or areas should be isolated from the rest of the distribution network. This will reduce water wastage and allow a supply to continue to unaffected areas. Isolation is usually undertaken using control valves. If they are not available, or cannot be traced, new valves will have to be installed.