Household Water Newsletter, Issue 7

Welcome Announcements Featured Topic Field Report Event Calendar


In this newsletter, we feature drought and famine relief efforts in Somalia, and highlight the contribution and activities of the WASH Cluster. HWTS is playing an important role and a number of our Network colleagues are supporting these efforts. You may also refer to our July newsletter for a more general overview of the Horn of Africa crisis and a list of information resources from UN-OCHA, WHO, UNICEF and ReliefWeb.

If your organization is involved in providing HWTS support to the crisis, we encourage you to share your experiences, comments or questions using the EZCollab discussion forum or simply by replying to this message. (If your organization is a Network participant, you may sign up to EZCollab by clicking here).

Thanks to all those that recently submitted their interest in co-convening Network Working Groups in Advocacy, Capacity Building, Knowledge Advancement and Monitoring & Evaluation. The Network Secretariat is currently finalizing the selection of co-conveners and these will be announced in due course.

Finally, we look forward to our Annual Network Meeting, to be convened on 3 October, 2011 as part of the Water & Health conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA. Both prospective and current members of the Network are welcome to join in the discussions. We look forward to seeing you there.


  • Just published – Information brief for government and policy-makers on evaluating household water treatment options
  • Following on from the July 2011 WHO publication “Evaluating household water treatment options”, an information brief that has been developed to highlight the role of household water treatment and safe storage in improving health, summarize key recommendations, and suggest possible government action in regards to evaluating and regulating HWT. Download the brief from the Information Resources section of the WHO HWTS homepage or access it directly here.

  • Kyoto Water Prize
  • Following our announcement of the deadline extension for the Kyoto Water Prize, Network participants in Kenya, India, Pakistan, and Uganda notified us of their intent to apply. Good luck to all who submitted an application!

    Featured Topic

  • Crisis in the Horn of Africa: Focus on Somalia
  • In our July 2011 newsletter, we featured the current humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa, and sought to provide an overview of the involvement of UN agencies, and where official and timely information on the crisis can be found.

    Click to read the feature in our July 2011 newsletter

    In this issue, we focus on the situation in Somalia with a brief look at the contribution of the WASH Cluster’s relief efforts there.

    If you wish to provide feedback, please feel free to do so by posting your comments in the EZCollab discussion forum, or by emailing us directly.

    Situation Overview

    The situation in the Horn of Africa continues to deteriorate. Somalia is the epicenter of the current regional crisis with 3.7 million people in crisis nationwide and 3.2 million of those needing life-saving assistance. Tens of thousands of people have already perished.

    Outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea and cholera are occurring and are expected to worsen with the forthcoming October/November rains.

    UNHCR reports that there are now nearly 800,000 Somali refugees in neighbouring countries, nearly a fifth of whom fled the country during 2011. In addition, there are approximately 1.5 million internally displaced persons.

    The main cause of the crisis is deficient rains, leading to drought and consequently, crop and livestock failure. Rising food prices, conflict, internal displacement and insufficient humanitarian aid access have exacerbated the situation.

    On 3 August, famine was officially declared in three more regions of the country, bringing the total to five. Water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions remain critical to the relief effort. Other activities include agriculture, education, food assistance, health, logistics, nutrition, protection, shelter and non-food items.

    More than US$1 billion in funds is needed for the emergency response in Somalia alone. US$435 million remains unfunded.

    Download the latest UN-OCHA Situation Report here.

    WASH Cluster response

    In Somalia, the WASH Cluster aims to reach 2.8 million people with emergency water by the end of 2011, 1.4 million of which have already been reached.

    Activities include provision of safe water, increased access to safe water, hygiene promotion, distribution of water vouchers and other WASH interventions in targeted areas such as camps, schools, health facilities, and feeding centres. Supplies of chlorine, essential items for personal and household hygiene and storage of water are a core part of the relief efforts and are being distributed to health and nutrition centres. Community education campaigns are being conducted and scaled up.

    The most critical need at this time is funding. WASH needs account for US$78 million. US$50 million remains unfunded.

    Download the Consolidated Appeal Emergency Revision – August 2011 from ReliefWeb. Look to page 18 for further information on WASH Cluster activities.

    How the Cluster response works

    UNICEF as global lead of the WASH cluster coordinates the efforts of emergency / humanitarian WASH actors. An important tool in this work is the 4W matrix (Who, What, When, Where), which brings together in a single document the efforts of stakeholders. This enables more effective monitoring and evaluation of relief work, a more rapid and efficient response, and helps avoid duplication of efforts.

    There is currently limited access for new organisations to join the response however organizations which are currently operational in-country will be able to scale up. Priority is given first to organisations with experience in WASH interventions in the given location, and second to organisations with WASH experience in other regions of Somalia. Other criteria also apply.

    UN-OCHA strongly encourages all donors and humanitarian actors to carry out their activities in coordination with existing structures on the ground. Cash donations rather than in-kind contributions are also advised.

    For further details on the WASH cluster in Somalia, visit UN-OCHA’s dedicated website here.

    Field Report

  • Voluntary Community and Household Drinking Water Quality Surveillance Efforts in Thailand
  • The community and household drinking water quality surveillance network and volunteer capacity development project, coordinated by the Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, provides an promising model for effectively engaging local communities in monitoring and promoting clean drinking water and safe storage. The project relies on over 1,000 volunteer village health care workers who routinely sample water quality both at the source and in stored containers within households. Using inexpensive, locally manufactured water quality field test kits, volunteers measure coliform bacteria and chlorine and thus are able to provide immediate data on the integrity of drinking water quality throughout the country. The program is an important component of Thailand’s goal, known as “MDG Plus”, to provide drinking safe water to all citizens by 2012. For further information, please contact Mrs. Suree Wongpiyachon of the Food and Water Sanitation Division, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. You may also download her presentation from a recent event in Thailand.

    Event Calendar

    Network Events

  • Annual Network Meeting: 3 October 2011 in Chapel Hill, USA
  • Other Events

  • 3rd Ghana Water Forum: 5-7 September, 2011 in Accra, Ghana
  • 16th International Symposium on Health-Related Water Microbiology: 18-23 September, 2011 in Rotorua, New Zealand
  • Water & Health 2011: 3-7 October, 2011 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  • Global Forum on Sanitation & Hygiene 2011: 9-14 October, 2011 in Mumbai, India
  • 2nd IWA Development
    Congress & Exhibition:
    21-24 November, 2011 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 6th Rural Water Supply Forum: 29 November to 1 December, 2011 in Kampala, Uganda
  • 6th World Water Forum: 12-17 March, 2012 in Marseille, France
  • IWA World Water Congress & Exhibition 2012: 16-21 September, 2012 in Busan, South Korea
  • Are you aware of an upcoming international, regional or national event on HWTS? Please tell us by email at or

    Environ Sci Engineering - Ops