From August 1914 Belgium and its population was under German military occupation. The occupation was particularly controversial. U-boats hampered relief efforts, though some came through via the American Committee for the Relief of Belgium. The Bryce report, published in May 1915, reported alleged atrocities to an international audience.
Britain had entered the war ostensibly in defence of Belgian neutrality, and attention to the civilian plight is seen in this map of the Brussels area, upon which is overprinted details of the local water supply. The considerable detail includes numbers of public and private pumps, and problems of contamination and supply blockages.
The plight of Belgian civilians may have formed part of the propaganda war. However, this information would also have been essential in the event of an Allied break through German defences and the liberation of the area by British troops.