Water Resources #water

Household water treatment and safe storage in emergencies

Mollie Godinez/Philippines Red Cross

This manual is aimed at field personnel and volunteers responding to emergencies involving issues of water quality. The manual presents the various options available for household water treatment, with and without products from outside the community.

It is available in English,  FrenchSpanish, Chinese (Mandarin)Kiswahili
Vietnamese, Malay, Nepali, Burmese, Bahasa, Pidjin (PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu), Tamil, Arabic, Bengali (India), Bengali (Bangladesh), HindiSomali and Kirundi (Burundi).

Contents include:

  • An overview of water quality
  • How to clean water at the household level through various means
  • How to properly store and handle household water
  • How to choose the right method of improving water quality
  • How to promote the use of household water treatment and storage

After an intervention has been chosen, beneficiaries will require training in the use of specific treatment method. This manual contains short fact sheets that can be distributed for use by volunteers in carrying out this training…
While the manual has an emergency focus, there is a great deal of information relevant for programs in developing settings.

You can download the HWTS editable version and pictures here to adapt or translate it for your project. Or print new versions with these files: English cover, English manual and French cover French manual.

To learn more about Household Water Treatment please refer to the Public Health e-learning platform:

Ceramic Water Filters Red Cross Red Crescent experiences and lessons in Asia This document captures key experiences from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Asia who have implemented programmes with ceramic water filters. It includes lessons learned and recommendations for National Societies in the Asia Pacific zone (along with partner National Societies and the IFRC Secretariat), who may be looking to implement similar programmes in the future.

Training Curriculum for Community-based Volunteers: Repair and Maintenance of Water Supply Systems. This training curriculum was developed as part of a drought risk reduction project in Kenya and Uganda. The curriculum is for training community-based volunteers on the operation, repair and maintenance of water supply systems.

There are sessions on:

  • Pipelines, tanks, consumer points
  • Dams, in-takes, wells, rainwater harvesting
  • Pumps (diesel, hand, solar, wind powered)
  • Preparing for drought and making on operation and maintenance schedule
  • Sanitary surveys for water safety planning

Additional information 

Water testing and treatment


Portable water testing kit: User’s manual in English, French, Spanish
Analytical Procedure – Bacteria-Hydrogen sulfide producing
Solar water disinfection: The guide to SODIS application in English, French, Spanish Portuguese  and technical note.
Ceramic water purifier photo album
Oxfam Water filtration manual
Oxfam Water treatment manual
Coagulation and disinfection manual
Safe drinking water from desalination
SOPAC Technical Report 437 Desalination for Pacific Island Countries
Simple sedimentation
Slow and filtration
Coagulation, flocculation, and clarification
Rapid sand filtration
Water treatment
Chlorination concepts
Chlorine gas or liquid in cylinders
Calcium hypochlorite
Sodium hypochlorite
Continuous chlorination of dug wells
Dosing hypochlorite solutions
Dosing chlorine for cylinders
Water quality monitoring
Chlorine monitoring at point sources and piped distribution systems
Chlorine testing
Bacteriological testing
Turbitiy measurement
Household water treatment and storage
Hypochlorite tablet dosers
Domestic quality water
How to measure chlorine residual in water
Infiltration galleries
Emergency treatment of drinking water point of use


Oxfam Water pumping manual
WEDC Maintaining handpumps technical brief
Borehole and hand pump implementation, operation and maintenance


Oxfam Hand dug well manual
Dug wells
Cleaning and disinfecting wells in emergencies
Cleaning and disinfection of wells
Cleaning and disinfecting boreholes in emergencies
Boreholes and tubewells


Storage tank
Cleaning and disinfection of storage tanks
Cleaning and disinfection of pipelines
Cleaning and disinfection of tanker trucks
Cleaning and disinfecting water storage tanks and tankers


WHO Guidelines for drinking water: Fourth edition (2011)
WEDC Emergency water sources
Water source options:a comparison
 – Water Supply in Refugee Situations
Water distribution manual
Water storage manual
 Safe water guide for the Australian aid program 2005: A framework and guidance for managing water quality
SKAT Water lifting
DFID Guidance manual on water supply and sanitation program
DFID Handbook for the assessment of catchment water demand and use
Minimum water quantity needed for domestic use in emergencies
Rehabilitating small scaled piped water distribution systems
Rehabilitating water treatment works after an emergency
Sanitary inspection
Rainwater collection
Surface water abstraction
Flow measurement and control
Delivering safe water by tanker


WASH Cluster Water in emergencies part 1 (zip file)  and  part 2 (zip file)