The global number of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) has reached an all-time high. Emergencies and protracted displacement not only impacts refugees and IDPs; it can also severely affect host communities and local governments.

In emergency operations, provision of constant and reliable supply of energy is of paramount importance to ensure the provision of basic services, such as water. Energy for water supply is, in a large number of humanitarian operations, dependant of generators and fuel. Pumping water consumes a lot of energy, and consequently results in high recurrent costs particularly for fuel and maintenance.

Solar water pumping is considered the most appropriate approach to reduce recurrent operating costs and to enable more sustainable water provision. In Africa and Asia, where fuel can be expensive to transport and access to water points is limited, solar photovoltaic pumping is a cost effective solution.  

The shortage of solar energy expertise among WASH stakeholders and field practitioners is a critical barrier towards the effective mainstreaming of solar pumping technology in emergency WASH contexts.  

IOM, in partnership with OXFAM, have been implementing since May 2016 “The Global Solar and Water Initiative” that aims to coordinate, build evidence and capacity, and mainstream the use of solar powered water systems across the WASH humanitarian sector.

The project, which is due to end in May 2020, intends to effectively mainstream the use of solar energy for water provision for both, disaster affected populations and surrounding communities in and outside camps, and therefore contribute to more cost-effective, sustainable and environmentally friendly access to water for affected populations in emergencies and protracted displacement situations.  

The overall objective of the project is to improve cost efficiency of water access for displaced populations and affected host communities by effectively mainstreaming the use of solar water pumping technologies.  

The objective will be achieved through:-

  • Building evidence of cost effectiveness of solar water pumping from field cases, with a focus on knowledge gaps outside refugee camp contexts;
  • Improved knowledge on solar water pumping options among practitioners reinforced by technical support and reference material; and
  • Enhanced knowledge and information sharing for effective mainstreaming of solar water pumping technologies by interested stakeholders.

For more information contact: Alberto Llario