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

Agricultural livelihoods
Recover livelihoods - Water/land management
Rainwater harvesting

Rainwater harvesting


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

In arid and semi-arid regions water scarcity is almost endemic, placing greater pressure on both surface and groundwater resources to meet domestic and irrigation demands.

Drought is another major cause of water shortage with devastating impacts, especially in countries with reduced capacity to absorb the shocks. This is increasingly exacerbated by climate change.

Prolonged or frequent drought episodes can lead to the irreversible stage of desertification unless adequate measures are taken to increase the resilience of countries prone to such phenomena. Efforts need to support enhanced management and conservation of water resources and preserve water quality. This includes improved capture and utilization of rainfall, such as rainwater harvesting, and the adoption of water conservation technologies and practices that use less water, and reduce water loss, such as using drip and furrow irrigation to increase water productivity, and the capture and re-use of greywater.

Gender, age, disability and HIV/AIDS implications

Throughout the project cycle it is vital to consider gender in relation to access to, and management of natural resources.


Environmental impact categories

Natural Resource Depletion
Soil erosion
Water pollution
Water depletion

Summary of Impacts
Summary of potential environmental impacts

Soil erosion due to leakages in water distribution systems.

Water depletion due to lack of low flow devices.

Inappropriate design of water supply systems results in beneficiaries developing environmentally damaging water collection approaches, resulting in soil erosion and water depletion.

Water pollution due to lack of protection of water sources.

Crop failures and hunger due to lack of water or erratic rainfall.

Gradual desertification as soil water content reduces.

Impact detail
Detailed potential environmental impact information

Inappropriate design of water supply systems often results in people developing environmentally damaging water collection approaches which in turn lead to soil erosion and depletion of water reserves.

When water users have free flow devices, the amount of water used per second is higher than when low flow devices are installed. If those devices are not available, water consumption per capita may be high to the point where available water resources are unsustainably depleted.

Improper design of water supply systems that do not accommodate community cultural practices and needs, may result in environmentally damaging water collection approaches. This can have negative impacts on natural resources because uncontrolled extraction methods appear.


Summary of environmental activities

Recharge, Retention, Reuse: The 3Rs of rainwater is an approach towards supporting the sustainable capture, storage, and use of rainwater to meet people’s water usage needs.

The 3R approach supports the assessment and use of the rainwater catchment area as a buffer to store water without having to apply expensive and potentially environmentally damaging technical solutions.

Detailed guidance for implementing suggested environmental activities

3R stands for the three elements required to store, manage and utilise water:

· Recharging water involves the application of techniques for restoring groundwater levels through facilitating rainwater percolating back into the ground.

· Retaining water involves storing rainwater to ensure that the water does not flow away, but is captured in the area and made available when needed.

· Re-using rainwater involves using and reusing water for multiple purposes.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle of Waste (Flows) – Incorporating Reduce, Reuse and Recycle practices in your WASH project can help you to:

· Reduce contamination and spillage

· Recycle waste and sewage

· Reuse waste and sewage water flows

Lessons Learnt
Lessons from past experiences

A local NGO working in Burkina Faso has reported how they have helped pastoralists and settled farmers settle their disputes over precious water resources through a variety of groundwater recharging initiatives, trickle irrigation, targetted use of compost for individual crops, and agreed land zoning.

Activity Measurement
Environmental indicators/monitoring examples

# of RWH solutions still in use 3 months after the end of the project.

Activity Status
Main Focus
Focus of suggested activities

Environmental enhancement

Resource implications (physical assets, time, effort)

Involve national and local environmental actors in needs assessment planning and analysis.

Ask for their help in identifying parameters to assess;

Seek advice from global sector environment communities of practice, where these exist.

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