We are Elrha, a force for change in the humanitarian community. The research and innovation we support equips the humanitarian community with the knowledge of what works, so people affected by crises get the right help when they need it most.
Our purpose is clear: to empower the humanitarian community to improve humanitarian response. We make this happen by supporting and championing the outcomes of robust research and proven innovations.
We empower the humanitarian community. Find out how we can support you...

What is the humanitarian need?

Poor management of surface water in refugee camps causes flooding and waterlogging, with adverse effects on the residents. This surface water can support the development of vector-borne diseases such as malaria or dengue as well as worm infections and provide a route for water-borne diseases such as cholera, hepatitis E or typhoid.  It makes the movement of people and vehicles around the camps difficult, thus delaying the provision of essential water and sanitation services.

What is the innovative solution?

Field practitioners and decision makers need more awareness and guidance on the management of surface water in refugee camps. This scoping study will explore the opportunities for developing guidance and the application of good practice and sustainable drainage. It will also tackle some of the specific challenges that include:

  • Breeding ground for vectors
  • Decreased water quality
  • Lack of data for design
  • Institutional arrangements
  • Lack of time and cost for construction

Our innovation will be to create one guidance toolkit for decision makers and field practitioners with design principles, examples of solutions and case studies.

What were the expected outcomes?

The outcome of the first stage was a scoping report, incorporating both a literature review and stakeholder engagement to identify the main constraints and opportunities in managing surface water.  This then resulted in the finalised proposal for the guidance toolkit.
The guidance toolkit used existing good practice in the field as well as good practice from around the world to provide solutions and approaches for managing surface water in refugee camps.

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Latest Updates

Surface Water Management in Humanitarian Contexts - January 2019 Newsletter

14 Feb 2019

Arup are pleased to be able to share a final draft of their guidance to help practitioners plan for and manage surface water in humanitarian settings. You can see further details in their January Newsletter.


Toolkit development and gathering feedback from ‘the field’

28 Aug 2018

Arup produced an initial draft of the guidance in early July and have since been obtaining feedback on the document to make sure it is ‘fit for the field’.


Reflections on Phase 1 & Start-up of Phase 2

11 Apr 2018

The project started in 2017 and was split into two key phases: a scoping study and guidance creation.


Read the Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue

Learn more about this WASH project, and many others, in our Humanitarian WASH Innovation Catalogue.

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