14.4.1 Water supply

Water supply is not the focus of this module but is obviously essential in an emergency situation. As you can imagine, there may not be sufficient water available to meet basic needs and in this situation supplying a survival level of safe drinking water is of critical importance. The Sphere Handbook sets standards for the minimum quantity and quality of water that should be available to people in emergencies, shown in Table 14.1. The recommended absolute minimum is 7.5 litres per person per day although this can vary depending on a number of different factors.

Table 14.1 Basic water needs during an emergency situation. (Sphere Project, 2011)
Water useVolume per person per dayComments
Survival needs: water intake (drinking and food)2.5–3 litres Depends on the climate and individual physiology
Basic hygiene practices2–6 litres Depends on social and cultural norms
Basic cooking needs3–6 litres Depends on food type and social as well as cultural norms
Total basic water needs7.5–15 litres

14.4 Standards for emergency response

14.4.2 Latrine provision and excreta disposal