Virtual Environmental and Humanitarian Adviser Tool – (VEHA Tool) is a tool
to easily integrate environmental considerations in humanitarian response. Field Implementation guidances are useful for the design and execution of humanitarian activities in the field.
The natural water cycle supports the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. Human interventions within this natural cycle, such as water extraction, climate change, and construction of impermeable surfaces, can have negative impacts on the natural water resource, such as causing water scarcity, water stress, and water pollution. For example, if there is less water available locally within the cycle, groundwater resources can diminish unsustainably. In addition, changes in rainfall patterns can impact people and ecosystems by altering the availability of water throughout the year.
People living with chronic or terminal illnesses, the very old and very young, are more vulnerable to water-borne diseases than others.
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems
Natural Resource depletion
Reduction in water resources.
Harm to humans, flora, fauna, soil health, and ecosystems.
If groundwater aquifer capacities and recharge rates or river flow rates and seasonal variations are not accurately measured, monitored, or estimated, there is a significant risk of over-abstraction.
Over abstraction can result in a lack of sufficient water for human consumption, depleting water availability for flora and fauna and soil health, and therefore damaging ecosystems. Over abstraction upstream can also deprive people of the water they need downstream.
Over abstraction can also lead to saline intrusion of aquifers which can be very hard to reverse.
Monitor ground and river water capacities and recharge rates.
Ensure groundwater aquifer capacities and recharge rates or river flow rates and seasonal variations are accurately measured and monitored.
The humanitarian response to the Darfur crisis included the unmonitored cutting of trees and the abstraction of groundwater.
Water was abstracted from aquifers made from fissured basalt geology. Some years into the response water supply quantities were reduced. Ultimately Humanitarian Actors installed groundwater monitoring and telemetry and managed abstraction more sustainably. This reduced rates of over-abstraction, however alternative sources were ultimately required to support displaced communities.
Number of monitored water abstraction points.
Prevention of environmental damage
Time and cost of groundwater monitoring (e.g. installation of telemetry equipment at tube wells), analysis, reporting.
Potential for significant resources to be required to provide alternative sustainable sources of water if required.