Water Supply in Protracted Humanitarian Crises: Reflections on the sustainability of service delivery models

Publication date

03 Sep 2020

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UNHCR estimates that the average time spent by a refugee in a camp is 10 years, while the average refugee camp remains for 26 years. WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) is a crucial component of humanitarian response and longer-term recovery. Humanitarian agencies and host governments face many challenges in protracted situations and complex long-term humanitarian crises. One key issue is how water supplies should be managed in the long term. Who is best placed to operate and manage WASH services and which delivery model is the most viable? 

At the end of 2019, there were 15.7 million refugees in protracted situations, representing 77% of all refugees. This report takes stock of the various alternative service delivery models, to enable humanitarian and development agencies to work together to smooth the transition from emergency relief to sustainable services.