14.1  Causes of emergency situations

Emergencies are sudden, unexpected, hazardous situations where there is a need for an immediate response. They can cause severe disruption because they are unexpected. Resources are needed to cope with an emergency and they may have to be brought in from outside.

Everyone will have to deal with emergencies in life at some time or another. Can you think of an emergency that has occurred in your life? You can probably think of many. The last one that I had was when a pipe burst in my mother’s house. It was late in the night, and I had to take my friend Kabede with me (as an outside resource) to help fix it, because I am useless at plumbing.

A water emergency, such as the one described above, is an event that disrupts the normal supply of water. In town, it can occur due to natural causes or when there is damage to the major infrastructure of the treatment plant, water storage or water distribution system. Untreated or partially treated water may be inadvertently distributed in an emergency situation.Another cause of a water emergency could be contamination of the water supply, for example by a chemical leak.

As you can see, there are several different types of emergency that can affect water supply and some of these are described in the sections that follow.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 14

14.1.1  Drought