WATSAN - Water and sanitation engineering from emergency towards development


The main objective of this course is to train qualified and motivated engineers and scientists who are active (or intending to become active) in the wash-sector in humanitarian contexts. The participants should be able, at the end of the course, to plan, implement and monitor water and sanitation emergency programs and design an emergency response in the context of a humanitarian operations as well as to better understand the institutional context of humanitarian situations.

The training covers a wide range of technical aspects required to efficiently handle emergency situations with approaches aiming towards development. The training thereby facilitates integration of engineers and scientists in humanitarian operations and makes the participants aware of the close links between public health, water and sanitation in disaster-stricken populations.
The training course is subdivided into a theoretical part and a practical part. During the theoretical part, issues are covered from basic concepts in hydrogeology, water quality and treatment, geospatial data analysis, refugee camp planning, well construction and rehabilitation, waste water and solid waste management to environmental sanitation assessment: all courses include exercises and case studies. During the practical part, field work is carried out during three days: a water treatment and distribution network is constructed and water and bacteriological analysis, well testing and geophysical exploration are carried out.


  • identify, formulate and analyse issues of public health, water and sanitation;
  • pass on technical concepts and discuss them with health professionals as well as with industrial leaders, politicians, local and national administrators;
  • plan, implement and monitor a water and sanitation emergency programme in the context of a humanitarian operation;
  • better understand the institutional context of a humanitarian situation and design an emergency response.

Target audience

  • The course is designed for engineers and scientists interested in a humanitarian engagement in the domain of water and sanitation.

Admission conditions

University or equivalent degree.
Prior experience in the domains of water supply, wastewater treatment, health and/or sanitation is welcome.



"Certificate of Participation" issued by the Continuing Education Department, CHYN and ICRC, Wathab Service.


September - October 2021



Registration will be open in April 2021


CHF 2000.-, including all lunches and 4 evening meals.
The University of Neuchâtel has no funding provisions for applicants of this course.


Centre d'hydrogéologie et de géothermie (CHYN)
Université de Neuchâtel
Rue Emile-Argand 11
2000 Neuchâtel
+41 (0)32 718 25 94



The dates for 2021 WATSAN course will be communicated on this webpage in March 2021, and will most likely take place in September or October 2021.

Deadline for application

The University of Neuchâtel has no funding provisions for applicants of this course.


September - October 2021


uk.png English


Université de Neuchâtel
Centre d'Hydrogéologie et de Géothermie (CHYN)
Rue Emile-Argand 11
2000 Neuchâtel


Dr. Ellen Milnes
Centre d'hydrogéologie et de géothermie (CHYN)

Université de Neuchâtel
Rue Emile-Argand 11
2000 Neuchâtel
+41 (0)32 718 25 94




Centre of Hydrogeology and Geothermy of the University of Neuchâtel (CHYN)

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC - Wathab Service)

Swiss Federal Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (EAWAG)

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)

Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC, Loughborough University, GB)

Other important international NGO's according to their availability

(Possible modifications according to the availability of the speakers.)