Integrated risk management to protect drinking water and sanitation services facing natural disasters

Integrated risk management to protect drinking water and sanitation services facing natural disasters

A preventive approach to managing water and sanitation services facing natural disasters

This guide provides updated information for professionals, agencies, and authorities in the health, drinking water and sanitation sectors on alternatives for strategic interventions to combat risks inherent in drinking water and sanitation services. The document brings together the experiences and comments of various Latin American experts to indicate the best route to break the vicious circle of poverty, vulnerability, disasters and increased poverty in Latin American and Caribbean countries. However, it is also relevant to professionals working in other parts of the world.

The authors highlight that the same factors which cause many countries to remain underdeveloped also contribute to an even greater vulnerability when faced with disasters. Overcoming this situation, they argue implies changing the traditional approach of reacting to major emergencies that result from disasters to a more integrated and preventive approach. The importance of drinking water and sanitation services for rapid recovery by an affected community is explained with reference to key post-disaster activities that require water.

The guide argues that integrated risk management applied to drinking water and sanitation services is becoming an important strategy in preventive management by facilitating proactive actions to face foreseeable threats and to mitigate the impact that natural events have on water and sanitation infrastructure.

The publication discusses the range of actors that are involved in the planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of water supply and sanitation systems. These include service operators (public, private, or mixed), local authorities, governing and regulating entities, financial organisations, NGOs, the community, and sanitary and environmental engineering professional associations. It describes how these organisations can also play an important role in shifting to a new paradigm of active anticipation rather than the conventional reactive approach after the event.

The guide concludes by presenting a range of case studies and best practices from countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Links are also provided to a range of further reading, useful websites, courses courses, institutions and research centres.

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