Improving surface water management in refugee camps

CIRIA is part of a project team led by Arup that includes Oxfam, WEDC, Ilman Young Design and the Environment Protection Group to develop a scoping study on improving surface water management in refugee camps.

There is not enough awareness or sufficient guidance for field practitioners and decision makers on managing surface water, waterlogging and flooding in refugee camps. This scoping study and project will look at applying some of the principles around good practice for surface water management and sustainable drainage with a view to tackling specific challenges around:

  • Controlling vectors
  • Managing water quality, particularly silt
  • Develop pragmatic design approaches in the absence of detailed design data (rainfall, percolation data etc)
  • Lack of time and resource for design and construction
  • Complex institutional arrangements


This scoping document will be the first stage of developing holistic and easy to use guidance for decision makers and field practitioners delivering surface water management and drainage on refugee camps. It will include design principles, processes and examples of approaches and case studies.

A survey has been developed and we would be interested to have your views and thoughts on what could be included in the guidance. Visit   to complete a quick questionnaire or get in touch through if you have any questions or comments.

This project is funded through the Humanitarian Innovation Fund managed by ELRHA.
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