Sources of safe drinking-water include boreholes, protected wells and protected springs, adequately treated and prope distributed surface water and rainwater collected on clean surfaces and properly stored. Safe drinking-water is defined by the World Health Organization as water that 'does not represent any significant risk to health over a lifetime of consumption, including different sensitivities that may occur between life stages. Those at greatest risk of waterborne disease are infants and young children, people who are debilitated or living under unsanitary conditions and the elderly. Safe drinking-water is suitable for all usual domestic purposes, including personal hygiene. In the context of emergencies, drinking- water may be considered safe when: 1) A sanitary inspection indicates a low risk of faecal contamination, 2) There are no faecal coliforms detectable in any 100-ml sample, 3) For piped water supplies, or for all water supplies at times of risk or presence of diarrhoea epidemic, water is treated with a disinfectant so that there is a free chlorine residual at the tap of 0.5 mg per litre and turbidity is below 5 NTU, 4) No negative health effect is detected due to short-term use of water contaminated by chemical or radiological source and assessment shows no significant probability of such an effect.
Nb of households with access to a source of safe drinking-water
Total nb of households in the sample
Indicator used for response monitoring ?
Threshold / Standard
In many contexts people will not have access to safe drinking water for part or all of the emergency period, for example when they rely on traditional unprotected water sources or when central systems for water treatment and distribution fail. In these cases, household (or point-of-use) treatment is important for ensuring that water is clean at the point of consumption. Surveyors should check to ensure that all the necessary supplies and equipment are present. For example, if bucket disinfection is used, an additional water container, usually a bucket with a lid, will be required for the process, in addition to containers for collection and storage. Model questions for survey: Do you treat your water in any way to make it safer to drink? IF YES, what do you usually do to the water to make it safer to drink? Did you treat the water that is being used in your household today? IF NO, why not? May I see the product or device please?
It is important to establish in each household whether sufficient safe drinking-water is available for drinking and cooking for all household members. If this is not the case then the result should be recorded as negative. Ensure that respondents clearly identify water that is used for drinking and cooking. Water used solely for laundry and bathing may not need to be of the same quality. Check the water sources mentioned by the respondents in the survey to verify their condition. Where relevant and possible, carry out water-quality analysis and checking of treatment processes. Model questions for survey What is the main source of drinking-water for this household? Do you collect drinking-water from any other sources?
Guidance for pre-crisis/baseline
Review Data from Joint monitoring Programme
household survey, direct observation
1) The proportion of household is also an indicator on the proportion of people with acces to a source of safe drinking water, indicator which can be then desagregated by sex and age. 2) Depending on contexts and intercluster cooperation, this indicator can be easily adapted for schools / child friendly spaces, feeding centres, as well as for health facilities