Water Services Management

WASH in Emergency

Disasters occur when hazards (natural or man-made), armed conflicts, or both surpass the capacity of the affected communities to respond. When these occur, the delivery of water and sanitation services paired with hygiene promotion, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), becomes paramount to ensure the survival, health, and dignity of the affected communities. The increasing vulnerability of communities – caused by rapid urbanization, growing inequality, political instability, and climate change among others – beckons a more in-depth understanding of the factors that influence and impact how WASH emergency responses are implemented. 

Under this research theme the WSM Group particularly focuses on:

  1. Water and Sanitation service provision in emergencies: During emergency response various stakeholders – such as national/local governments, donors, international humanitarian agencies (including UN agencies), (I)NGO’s, and local communities – interact in complex physical, socio-economic, technical and institutional contexts to provide the necessary water and sanitation services that guarantee the minimum requirements for human dignity. The focus is on understanding how service provision is constructed, and altered, in these situations by the various stakeholders and their inherent complexities.
  2. Interaction between humanitarian and development WASH sectors: the search for links and synergies between humanitarian and development sectors, driven by the international community since the 1980’s, has revealed inherent organizational, institutional, and operational challenges. This research theme focuses in understanding how different actors in the WASH sector tackle and attempt to solve these challenges in order to provide flexible, sustainable, and resilient service provision.

Coordinator: Andres Cabrera Flamini