Technical Guidelines on Water Trucking in Drought Emergencies | Pastoralism

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Emergency water trucking to drought-affected populations, particularly in the Horn of Africa, has become cyclical intervention as rainfall patterns in these areas has become increasingly unpredictable. In addition to being expensive and unsustainable, cyclical water trucking is coming under increased scrutiny as it increasingly appears to have negative impacts on pastoralist livelihoods, existing coping mechanisms in times of water scarcity, and inflation in the price of water. This technical brief presents information on assessing the appropriateness of water trucking interventions, setup of emergency water trucking in drought, and alternatives to water trucking. It is intended to assist field staff and managers on the most appropriate option for emergency water provision in drought, and to give practical case studies demonstrating their setup and associated challenges. This guide is meant to be utilized in the initial stages of drought to select and appropriately implement (and responsibly exit from) the most suitable form of emergency water provision.
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   Technical Guidelines On  Water Trucking in Drought Emergencies  Thomas Wildman, Regional WASH Advisor, HECA  Contents Introduction .................................................................................................................................................................. 3  When is Emergency Water Trucking Appropriate? ............................................................................................... 4  Technical criteria .......................................................................................................................................................... 6  Water quantity .......................................................................................................................................................... 6  Water quality ............................................................................................................................................................ 7  Water storage ........................................................................................................................................................... 8 Distribution .............................................................................................................................................................. 9 Human & livestock use .......................................................................................................................................... 9  Targeting ........................................................................................................................................................................ 9  Assessment & Planning ............................................................................................................................................ 10 Methodology ............................................................................................................................................................... 13  Water trucking targeting mobile pastoralists (free water) ............................................................................... 13  Water trucking targeting settlements (free water) ............................................................................................ 13  Water Provision through Vouchers.................................................................................................................... 13  Alternatives to Water Trucking ............................................................................................................................... 15 Rehabilitation/Repair of Existing Water Sources ............................................................................................ 15 Fuel & Cash Subsidies to Boreholes .................................................................................................................. 15 Contingency Boreholes ........................................................................................................................................ 17 Development of Groundwater Sources............................................................................................................. 17 Cash for work ........................................................................................................................................................ 18 Public health promotion strategies specific to water trucking ............................................................................ 18 MEAL (with remote programming context in the pastoralist context) ............................................................ 20 Disaster Risk Reduction/Drought monitoring and Mapping ............................................................................ 20 Cross border ............................................................................................................................................................... 21 Phased exit strategy .................................................................................................................................................... 21 References ................................................................................................................................................................... 22  Emergency water trucking to drought-affected populations, particularly in the Horn of Africa, has become cyclical intervention as rainfall patterns in these areas has become increasingly unpredictable. In addition to being expensive and unsustainable, cyclical water trucking is coming under increased scrutiny as it increasingly appears to have negative impacts on pastoralist livelihoods, existing coping mechanisms in times of water scarcity, and inflation in the price of water.  This technical brief presents information on assessing the appropriateness of water trucking interventions, setup of emergency water trucking in drought, and alternatives to water trucking. It is intended to assist field staff and managers on the most appropriate option for emergency water provision in drought, and to give practical case studies demonstrating their setup and associated challenges. This guide is meant to be utilized in the initial stages of drought to select and appropriately implement (and responsibly exit from) the most suitable form of emergency water provision. Introduction Emergency water trucking (EWT) is typically a short-term, life-saving intervention that is used to cover interruptions in water service or access to sufficient quantities of water to meet survival requirements.  While playing a legitimate part in response when used appropriately, in the Arid & Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) of east Africa, emergency water trucking often plays a very different role, as a coping mechanism in the daily lives of a large percentage of the population. EWT has become an almost yearly humanitarian intervention among aid organizations in the ASALs.  Additionally, a robust commercial water trucking market exists in many areas to serve populations & pastoralists who have no permanent water source. In addition to climatically-induced water scarcity, a number of other factors drive EWT: Poor settlement patterns propelled by political interests of politicians; Creation of too many new Districts necessitating the establishment of new administrative centers, even in locations without reliable sources of water; Commercial interests of businessmen; Lack of long-term strategies for investing in reliable/adequate water sources in ASALs; Frequent borehole breakdowns; Dependency syndrome on the part of communities.  When working in the ASALs, it is vital to understand the difference between drought and aridity. Drought differs from other natural disasters in that it does not have a universal definition  –   it is very region and impact specific. Drought is generically defined as “a period of abnormally dry weather sufficiently long enough to cause a serious hydrological imbalance” (NOAA). It is temporary and recurrent natural event that is a normal part of climate, whose onset and end are difficult to identify.  Aridity is a permanent featur e of climate, defined as “the degree to which a climate lacks effective, life - promoting moisture” (Glossary of Meteorology, American Meteorological Society). In summary  –   a drought causes temporary water shortages, while aridity is a state of chronic water deficit.  The overwhelming majority of the Horn of Africa consists of ASALs, and as such suffer from chronic  water deficit. Traditionally, populations in these regions have survived in these conditions by adopting a nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyle  –   seasonally migrating with their livestock in search of water and pasture, and adopting a lifestyle which has commonly required trekking distances of up to 20 kilometers  on a regular basis to obtain water; these are the coping mechanisms that have allowed these populations to survive in the resource-scarce ASALs. When is Emergency Water Trucking Appropriate?  Water trucking should be a last-resort option for emergency provision of water in drought. Several key questions must be considered during the planning phase of the emergency response to gauge the appropriate response modality: How does the target population normally access water during the dry season? Are there existing coping mechanisms that could be supported/reinforced?   If EWT is to focus on settled pastoral communities, if there a risk of causing over-grazing of  wet-season grazing areas (especially around EWT distribution points)?    Will EWT provide support to temporary mobile communities through the provision water to distant grazing areas in order to distribute pressure on scarce natural resources?    Are the yields of boreholes sufficient to meet the water needs of water trucks in addition to the everyday users?    Will EWT impact migration patterns of pastoralist populations?  Will the most vulnerable populations and communities be insufficiently targeted due to road access problems? Figure 1 is a decision tree which demonstrates how to select when EWT is an appropriate response modality, and when an alternative modality is more appropriate.
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