This article reviews the factors that determine the impact of explosive weapons on urban services in space and time, with a focus on drinking water services. The evidence comes from published and unpublished research and records, as well as experience restoring or maintaining such services. Urban services are seen as interconnected, and each composed of interdependent components of people, consumables and hardware. Elements that make up the components are labelled "upstream", "midstream" and "downstream", to reflect their location and hierarchy in the production and delivery of any urban service. The impact of explosive weapons is broken into the direct effects on any of the components of a service, and the reverberating effects on up- and or downstream components of the same service, or on other services.