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.

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VEHA - Field Implementation Guidance

Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion (WASH)
Access to sanitation
Wastewater management (estimation, separation, transportation, treatment, reuse, discharge)
Management of wastewater from showers and handwashing facilities

Management of wastewater from showers and handwashing facilities


Environmental factors causing/contributing to the needs and affecting the humanitarian activity

Water pollution can affect people’s health. Bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases such as typhoid, cholera, encephalitis, poliomyelitis, hepatitis, skin infection, and gastrointestinal diseases can spread through polluted water increasing the probabilities of overloading the capacity of excreta management systems due to diarrhoeal and vomiting cases. This impacts efficiency and capacity (that is increased amount of excreta generated due to health burdens).

In addition, close proximity of water tubewells and wastewater together with soil porosity, ground water table, topography, drainage, and stability of slopes, may result in pollution of wells from surface water, sewage, solid waste leachates, chemical spills, etc and subsequent sickness or disease.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Pollution from wastewater sources can cause eutrophication. This usually impacts the poorest and most vulnerable members of society as they have less money and access to cleaner water.


Environmental impact categories

Soil pollution
Water pollution
Loss of biodiversity and ecosystems

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Soil pollution and water pollution and eutrophication due to improper management of wastewater from showers and handwashing facilities.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Lack of provision of adequate drainage and treatment of shower water can lead to overflow to ground surfaces, causing slip hazards, ponding, and spread of disease. It can lead to pollution of surface and ground water and the spread of disease. In large quantities, it can create a nutrient overload of water bodies and eutrophication.


Summary of environmental activities

Collect water from showers and handwashing facilities and reuse it for flushing toilets or for agricultural activities

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

Design a water diversion and capture system from showers and hand washing facilities to capture or directly divert it for use in flushing toilets or for agricultural activities. Where it is to be used in agriculture it must be sufficiently diluted and tested so that it doesn’t harm crops or soil biota. Bother household systems and community / camp systems can be designed to collect water from showers and handwashing facilities and repurpose it. Water quality testing and comparison against legal discharge standards can provide guidance on suitability. Awareness-raising amongst water users can increase use in less harmful washing agents. Open and stagnant water bodies should be avoided in the diversion and storage of greywater.

Reused water can be used for small- or medium-scale agriculture, reducing the demand for water. On-site wastewater reuse can reduce water consumption as well as the amount of wastewater generated. This also reduces the risks of vector transmission through water stagnation.

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

In refugee camps, the management of greywater from showers is often insufficiently quantified and poorly managed. This often leads to overflow and ponding, surface water pollution, mosquito breeding, and disease spread.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

Percentage of water from showers handwashing facilities that is reused in a safe way

Activity status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Mitigation of environmental damage

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Time and budget for water diversion, collection, pumping or transport, and water quality testing if used for agriculture.

Next guidance:

Management of wasting
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