Integrating Environmental Issues into WASH Cluster Activities (WASH II)

Project dates: February - July 2010

8.1.4.2.1.water point in RwandaProviding emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services are common issues and clear priorities in virtually all humanitarian crises. Taking environmental considerations into account at this time, however, is also important so as to reduce further suffering on people and to ensure that the physical environment or many of the essential services a healthy environment provides are not negatively impacted.
Refugee camp water point in Rwanda

Possible environmental issues to look out for in WASH operations are excessive pumping from wells, which can lead to the intrusion of saline groundwater, or poorly sited and built latrines, with the risk of overflow to shelter areas or infiltration to groundwater.

Based on a scoping study conducted in 2008, in collaboration with CARE International and the Global WASH Cluster, ProAct Network is now supporting follow-on work that seeks to provide the WASH Cluster with specific guidance and technical documentation that will help planners and practitioners to take some of the main, recurrent environmental considerations into account in a more proactive manner.

The project will develop an environmental position paper and guidelines for the WASH Cluster, as well as technical guidance documents on:

  • disposal of water treatment wastes (chemical sludges) in emergencies;
  • reducing the environmental impacts of disaster wastes in emergencies;
  • recycling and re-use of waste materials in emergencies; and
  • reducing the environmental impacts of vector control chemicals in emergencies.