Water purification process in emergencies: Simulation

Published On: April 24, 2017

Students of the Master’s Degree in Hydrology and Water Resources Management participated in a simulation of a water purification process during an emergency situation

One more year, students of the Master's Degree in Hydrology and Water Resources Management at the University of Alcalá and Rey Juan Carlos University, have participated in a theory and practice day held in IMDEA Water Institute. During the workshop, students were able to learn about the process of a water purification in an emergency simulation using  the Response Unit To Water and Sanitation Emergencies (ERU WATSAN) of the Spanish Red Cross.

The students selected a water source to locate potable water systems and designed intervention logistics (water collection, treatment, water storage and distribution) to provide safe water to more than 3,000 people.

The activity was led by Raquel García, IMDEA Water researcher, and Ana Pérez, both ex-alumni of the master and currently volunteers at the Spanish Red Cross water and sanitation emergency response unit (ERU).


The Water and Sanitation ERU has five water treatment plants, the equipment and specialized personnel necessary to capture, potabilize, store and distribute up to 225,000 liters of water per day. These units are exclusive to Red Cross and are intended for the assistance of people affected by natural disasters at international level (15 L / day for 15,000 people). Its operation is flexible and immediate, allowing its assistance within a period not exceeding 48-72 hours after the disaster, from one place or several points, depending on the needs. It also has the capacity to improve the sanitation of a population of 5,000 people and promote hygiene in the affected population. This unit is autonomous for at least one month operating on the ground for up to four months. Afterwards, the equipment is donated to the Red Cross or Red Crescent of the country.

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