Briefing Note-Water Safety Planning to improve public health, water security and climate resilience
The successful development and implementation of WSPs have many benefits common to all drinking water systems, with some that are unique to each system. The major benefit of implementation contributes to improving drinking water safety and quality. To achieve this WSPs provide a framework for risk reduction prevention of hazards and a better response to emergencies, which not only improves public health but can ensure better watershed management and resilience to climate impacts.
Pacific WASH Resilience Guidelines & Tools
These guidelines and training materials have been produced by UNICEF Pacific and encompass a number of tools to expand and strengthen the work of governments and other partners to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services, whilst building resilience for communities in the Pacific. The guidance collates current approaches and previous guidance on WASH and resilience in one location, covering theory, guidance and practical tools. By addressing disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in a comprehensive approach across the disaster and climate risk continuum, it serves as a contribution to the Framework for Resilient Development in the Pacific.
Water safety planning training videos
Training videos on water safety planning are now available. The videos cover an introduction to water safety plan principles and steps, and water safety plan auditing. These videos are recordings from a bilateral training event organized by the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regional Offices, with support from WHO Headquarters. The content has been designed such that the global WSP community can benefit from viewing. For more information and to view the videos, visit the Water safety planning training videos page.
Factsheet: Engaging vulnerable groups in the implementation of CR WSP
Water is a fundamental need in every person’s life and ensuring access to safe water for all without discrimination is a human right, recognized by the United Nations (UN) in 2010. The global commitment to safe water for all is further demonstrated through the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 targets to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking-water for all. However, many people cannot yet claim their fundamental right to water, and inequalities to safe water access is felt disproportionately by those who are disadvantaged socially, economically, demographically, or geographically.
Read more on how to engage vulnerable groups in CR WSP in this factsheet.
Plans de gestion de la sécurité sanitaire de l’eau résilients au climat : Gestion des risques de santé liés à la variabilité et au changement climatiques.
Ce guide présente l'état actuel des connaissances sur les effets des changements climatiques sur le cycle de l'eau ainsi que les impacts sanitaires associés. Il est destiné à aider les fournisseurs d'eau qui se sont engagés à utiliser ou qui utilisent déjà l'approche du Plan de Gestion de la Sécurité Sanitaire de l'Eau (PGSSE), à mieux comprendre les questions liées aux changements climatiques et à soutenir l'identifi cation et la gestion des risques liés aux changements climatiques dans le cadre du processus du PGSSE.
Le document aidera les professionnels du secteur, en particulier les fournisseurs d'eau et les équipes du PGSSE à identifi er et à intégrer les questions plus larges du changement climatique, de la réduction des risques de catastrophe (RRC) et de la gestion intégrée des ressources en eau (GIRE) en tant qu'approches contributives importantes au processus du PGSSE.
Operational policy: Preparation and implementation of water safety plans
This purpose of this Operational Policy is to provide an overview of the minimum requirements for the preparation and implementation of Water Safety Plans (WSPs) across a water supply system.
This Operational Policy is not intended to replace any applicable regulatory requirements with respect to WSPs, but, rather, to provide some guidance on important aspects of the WSP implementation
This Operational Policy is divided into three distinct sections: Catchment, Treatment and Distribution, and provides information on the minimum requirements for each part of the catchment-to-consumer WSP framework.
Guidelines for Drinking Water Safety Planning for West Bengal
This publication provides practical guidance and best practices on the stages of developing safe rural drinking water delivery service schemes in West Bengal and other areas in India.
Water safety planning is considered an international best practice for assessing and managing public health risks from drinking water supply systems. The Asian Development Bank, in close collaboration with the World health Organization, assisted in developing water safety planning guidelines for West Bengal under a project aiming to improve rural drinking water delivery service schemes in the state. The publication outlines phases of the water safety plan, which can also be applied to developing bulk water supply systems.
Water Safety Planning (WSP), an approach which aims at ensuring safe drinking-water thorough a comprehensive risk system assessment and management process since its adoption by the International Water Association (IWA) and World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to support achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.1 to provide safe drinking-water for all.
Since its adoption, national governments have included them in national legislation to promote their implementation because of its immense benefits.
In scaling up effective up of WSP implementation across these different countries, this worldwide accepted approach needs to be supported by tools, resources, regulations and policies, guidelines to create the enabling environment and support stakeholder participation at the national level.
IWA with support from OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), under the Climate Resilient Water Safety Planning Project has produced this document with a summary of existing national policy and guidelines to support WSP implementation.
Climate-Smart Utility Case Stories
Climate resilience needs to be built and coordinated at the basin, city and utility level to ensure adaptive measures for water systems are effective and integrate other urban services. IWA and partners undertook a series of webinar on climate smart utilities to showcase what utilities are doing to address climate change both from a mitigation and adaptation approach.
Read more on IWAs work on Climate Smart Water Utilities
Lessons learned from practical CR WSP implementation and auditing in Africa and Asia.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) have a significant impact on health and, of particular concern as described in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Extreme Events, are the risks of more frequent and intense extreme weather events such as floods, cyclones and droughts, alongside increasing temperatures. Such extremes pose particular challenges to the capacity of WASH programmes to protect health, and there is accumulating evidence that climate change is worsening these risks.
A national programme of water safety plan (WSP) auditing was undertaken in 2018/19 with a particular focus on climate resilience, to learn lessons from the pilot WSPs and adapt the programme in advance of future scale-up.
Comparing the German enabling environment for nationwide Water Safety Plan implementation with international experiences: Are we still thinking big or already scaling up?
Ensuring safe drinking-water is the target of the Water Safety Plan (WSP) approach, which has been successfully applied to a large number of water supply systems around the world. Effective country-wide scaling up of WSP implementation requires an enabling environment at the policy level.
By utilizing a multi-step mixed methods approach, this study summarizes international experience with WSP implementation and scaling-up efforts following the 8 steps of the WSP road map published by WHO and IWA for an enabling environment, shows what steps Germany has in place, and compares this with published international experience to inspire further policy action.
Contrasting the international experience to the German situation revealed several overlaps but also profound differences, which, in turn, offer opportunities for mutual learning. Most experience in Germany and internationally is documented for the earlier steps of the WSP road map. Information particularly on developing a national strategy, securing financial instruments, activities to support continual implementation of WSPs and on review of the overall WSP experiences and sharing lessons learned appears to be scarce, while the importance of training, collaboration and alliances, and the value of a regulatory push are often stressed. In Germany, stakeholder engagement, guidance documents and workshop materials have been of vital importance. Information that could particularly inform further action in Germany mostly relate to considering a national WSP strategy, and how to shape an approach for external quality assurance of WSPs.
Water safety plan audit training package
Water safety plans (WPS) have been implemented in every region of the world, and many implementing countries have included WSPs in drinking-water policies or regulations. Enforcement of WSP requirements, as well as general WSP success and sustainability, requires ongoing WSP auditing, i.e. independent and systematic checks of WSP completeness, implementation in practice and effectiveness.
This training package presents guidance on preparing for and conducting a WSP audit, covering such topics as the aim and role of auditing, audit criteria, audit timing and frequency and audit reporting. It provides practical tools to support auditors conduct successful audits for continuous WSP improvement.
A Journey Towards Safe Drinking Water for All
This water safety plan country report for Sri Lanka shares the key learnings from the country's WSP journey and achievements. The lessons learned can support the broader WSP global community for successful and practical WSP implementation.
Risk assessment of small water supplies in lower-middle income settings
Set in Uganda, this short video documents how sanitary inspections can be applied as a basic risk management tool for small water supplies in resource limited settings. For more information, visit: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/department-civil-environmental-engineering/research/water-environment-and-health-engineering-group
Risk assessment of small water supplies
Set in Iceland, this short video documents how sanitary inspections can be applied as a basic risk management tool for small water supplies. For more information, visit: https://www.surrey.ac.uk/department-civil-environmental-engineering/research/water-environment-and-health-engineering-group
How current risk assessment and risk management methods for drinking water in The Netherlands cover the WHO water safety plan approach
In the Netherlands, safe and sufficient drinking water is provided to the general population by ten drinking water companies. To guarantee safe drinking water the World Health Organization (WHO) developed a Water Safety Plan (WSP), a Risk Assessment and a Risk Management (RA/RM) framework. The objective of the study was to
identify legally required RA approaches, to document application of RA/RM activities at Dutch drinking water companies and to determine to what extent these RA/RM activities as a whole cover all the elements of the WHO WSP approach. This study could be of interest to both managers of large water utilities and decision makers.
The assessment was performed by means of a policy review and interviews with two to four staff members involved in RA/RM from all ten Dutch drinking water companies combined with a joint workshop. The drinking water companies are well aware of the potential hazards and risks that can influence the drinking water quality. To guarantee the supply of safe and sufficient drinking water, the Dutch drinking water sector uses six different legally required RA/RM approaches. This study shows that by using the six legally required RA/RM approaches, all WSP steps are covered. WSP entails a generic risk assessment for identifying all hazards and hazardous events from source to tap, whereas the six legally required RA/RM each focus on specific risks at an advanced level.
Each risk assessment provides information on specific hazards and hazardous events covering a part of the water supply chain. These legal requirements are complemented with additional RA/RM activities at sector and water company level such as codes of practices and standard operating procedures. The outcomes of all RA/RM approaches combined provide information from source to tap. When using multiple RA/RM approaches, it is crucial to share and combine information derived from the different activities.
Linking water quality monitoring and climate-resilient water safety planning in two urban drinking water utilities in Ethiopia
Unsafe drinking water is a recognized health threat in Ethiopia, and climate change, rapid population growth, urbanization and agricultural practices put intense pressure on availability and quality of water. Climate change-related health problems due to floods and waterborne diseases are increasing. With increasing insight into impacts of climate change and urbanization on water availability and quality and of required adaptations, a shift towards climate-resilient water safety planning was introduced into an Ethiopian strategy and guidance document to guarantee safe drinking water. Climate-resilient water safety planning was implemented in the urban water supplies of Addis Ababa and Adama, providing drinking water to 5 million and 500,000 people, respectively. Based on the risks identified with climate-resilient water safety planning, water quality monitoring can be optimized by prioritizing parameters and events which pose a higher risk for contaminating the drinking water. Water quality monitoring was improved at both drinking water utilities and at the Public Health Institute to provide relevant data used as input for climate-resilient water safety planning. By continuously linking water quality monitoring and climate-resilient water safety planning, utilization of information was optimized, and both approaches benefit from linking these activities.
Implementation and evaluation of the water safety plan approach for buildings
The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes water safety plans (WSPs) – a risk-based management approach – for premise plumbing systems in buildings to prevent deterioration of drinking-water quality. Experience with the implementation of WSPs in buildings were gathered within a pilot project in Germany. The project included an evaluation of the feasibility and advantages of WSPs by all stakeholders who share responsibility in drinking-water safety. While the feasibility of the concept was demonstrated for all buildings, benefits reported by building operators varied. The more technical standards were complied with before implementing WSP, the less pronounced were the resulting improvements. In most cases, WSPs yielded an increased system knowledge and awareness for drinking-water quality issues. WSPs also led to improved operation of the premise plumbing system and provided benefits for surveillance authorities. A survey among the European Network of Drinking-Water Regulators on the existing legal framework regarding drinking-water safety in buildings exhibited that countries are aware of the need to manage risks in buildings' installations, but experience with WSP is rare. Based on the successful implementation and the positive effects of WSPs on drinking-water quality, we recommend the establishment of legal frameworks that require WSPs for priority buildings whilst accounting for differing conditions in buildings and countries.
WSP template for hospitals in Hong Kong
This template is prepared based on recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) with an aim to assisting the management staff of a hospital to develop and implement Water Safety Plan (WSP) to enhance water safety. It covers the essential elements of WSPs and common requirements applicable to the plumbing layout of hospitals. In additional to the English version, this resource is also available in traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.
Including aspects of climate change into water safety planning: Literature review of global experience and case studies from Ethiopian urban supplies
In recent years, the water safety plan approach has been extended towards climate-resilient water safety planning. This happened in response to increasing insight into impacts of climate on drinking-water and required adaptation to anticipated climate change. Literature was reviewed for published guidance and case examples, documenting how to consider climate in water safety planning to support future uptake. Climate-resilient water safety plans were piloted within a project in the water supplies of Addis Ababa and Adama, Ethiopia.
Case examples have been published in four of six WHO regions with a focus on urban supplies. Integration of climate aspects focused mostly on the steps of establishing the team, system description, hazard analysis and risk assessment, improvement planning and development of management procedures. While the traditional framework focuses on drinking-water quality, considering climate change augments aspects of water quantity. Therefore, other factors affecting water quantity such as population development and demand of other sectors need to be considered as well. Local climate information and tools should be employed as a significant success factor for future uptake. Such information should be incorporated as it becomes available, and may – depending on the setting – be incrementally integrated into existing water safety plans or used to develop new ones.
Strategic Recommendations for Climate Smart Water Utilities: Using the Flood and Drought Portal in Planning
The effect of climate change on the hydrological cycle is becoming a growing phenomenon and resulting in impacts including flood and drought events, disappearance of glaciers, decrease in groundwater recharge, and water quality degradation (e.g. oxygen depletion in water reservoirs during extreme heat events) (WHO, 2017).
Such events are becoming increasingly common, more severe and less predictable with increasing climate variability and change. Stakeholders from catchment to tap have a role to play in strengthening climate resilience. Water utilities, in particular, need to have sustainable and resilient water resources management to ensure water supply continuity and to fulfill their responsibility to deliver safe and secure water to their customers.
This document focuses on strategic recommendations for water utilities on:
- Why and how water utilities can integrate climate change impacts into planning and management of water resources, specifically through WSPs; and
- How to use the Flood and Drought Portal (www.flooddroughtmonitor.com), to better include climate data and information into WSP, ensuring its climate resilience
Documentary on WSP implementation
Beautiful short film on how to achieve safe drinking-water by Björn Weber, Oliver Meinborn and Grimme-price winner Ute Hilgeford. Launched by the World Health Organization on World Water Day 2019.
The film-makers accompany a community in the mountains of Tajikistan – where water safety plans have been introduced for the first time in Central Asia. It is a group of citizens who take matters into their own hands. An inspiring story of how a village invests their funeral fund on safer drinking-water.
A guide to equitable water safety planning: Ensuring no one is left behind
The lack of access to safe drinking-water is felt disproportionately by those who are disadvantaged socially, economically, demographically or geographically, and explicit consideration of these groups is required to understand and address disparities.
This document describes how, with relatively modest efforts, the water safety plan (WSP) approach can bring tangible improvements in water quality and availability for all users. By providing step-by-step guidance for all WSP stakeholders, as well as good practice examples from a broad range of countries and contexts, this document serves as a practical tool to help achieve safe water for all.
The electronic version of the PowerPoint slides presented in Tool F of the document, available under “Downloads” above, is intended to facilitate the integration of equity considerations into standard WSP training events.
Comparative evaluation of risk management frameworks for U.S. source waters
The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act required states to develop source water assessment programs identifying existing and potential contamination sources; however, comprehensive risk prioritization and management approaches for surface water supplies have seen limited application. This participatory study assessed which permutation(s) of risk management frameworks and tools might benefit U.S. utilities by combining a literature review with external utility interviews. Qualitative data provided a basis for categorical assignments of goodness of fit
with each of 24 framework evaluation criteria across five categories. Weighted integration using stakeholder input provided a relative ranking of applicability, later validated at a decision-making workshop. Hybridization of the American National Standards Institute/American Water Works Association (ANSI/AWWA G300) source water protection standard and World Health Organization Water Safety Plan guidance was recommended to develop a comprehensive risk management approach for U.S. source waters. Cost–benefit components of other guidance materials were recommended to incorporate financial considerations into risk ranking and mitigation decisions.
Observations and lessons learnt from more than a decade of water safety planning in South-East Asia
In many countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region, drinking water is not used directly from the tap and faecal contamination of water sources is prevalent. As reflected in Sustainable Development Goal 6, access to safer drinking water is one of the most successful ways of preventing disease. The WHO Water Safety Framework promotes the use of water safety plans (WSPs), which are structured tools that help identify and mitigate potential risks throughout a water-supply system, from the water source to the point of use. WSPs not only help prevent outbreaks of acute and chronic waterborne diseases but also improve water-supply management and performance. During the past 12 years, through the direct and indirect work of a water quality partnership supported by the Australian Government, more than 5000 urban and rural WSPs have been implemented in the region. An impact assessment based on pre- and post-WSP surveys suggests that WSPs have improved system operations and management, infrastructure and performance; leveraged donor funds; increased stakeholder communication and collaboration; increased testing of water quality; and increased monitoring of consumer satisfaction. These achievements, and their sustainability, are being achieved through national legislation and regulatory frameworks for water supply, including quality standards for drinking water; national training tools and extensive training of sector professionals and creation of WSP experts; model WSPs; WSP auditing systems; and the institution of longterm training and support. More than a decade of water safety planning using the WSP approach has shown that supplying safe drinking water at the tap throughout the WHO South-East Asia Region is a realistic goal.
Capacity building and training approaches for water safety plans: A comprehensive literature review.
The World Health Organization has recommended Water Safety Plans (WSPs), a holistic risk assessment and risk management approach, for drinking-water suppliers across low-, middle- and high-income countries, since publishing its 2004 Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality. While rapid WSP adoption has occurred, capacity is still catching up to implementation needs. Many countries and regions lack case examples, legal requirements, and training resources for WSPs, corresponding to widespread capacity shortfall in the water supply sector. We undertook a comprehensive review of the literature on capacity building and training for WSPs, with the goal of providing recommendations for multiple stakeholder groups at the scales of individual utilities, national governments, and intermediate units of governance. We propose a WSP training taxonomy and discuss it in relation to the stages of learning (introduction, practice, and reinforcement); describe the importance of customizing training to the target group, local language and circumstances; highlight the relevance of auditing for evaluating change over time; and call for robust methods to monitor WSP capacity development.
Developing Water Safety Plans Involving Schools – Introducing “Water Safety Plans” for small-scale water supply systems – Manual for teachers and pupils
The World Health Organisation (WHO) initiated the Water Safety Plans (WSP), which is to be considered as a part of the WHO or other guidelines or directives on drinking water quality. The WSP asks for an identification of risks, which could affect water safety and human health in every stage of the water supply. It is also necessary, however, to identify measures, which minimise and manage the risks have to be identified. A WSP should be discussed, developed and implemented with involvement of all stakeholders. The paper give an introduction into this important issue.
Climate Resilient Water Safety Plans (CR-WSP). Compilation of potential hazardous events and their causes
Climate-resilient water safety plans (CR-WSPs) extend the traditional WSP framework by also identifying and managing climate-related impacts on water supply systems to strengthen resilience. This compilation of information on hazardous events and their causes, including those related to climate impacts, aims to support practitioners, particularly water suppliers, health agencies and consultants, in implementing CR-WSPs. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and may need to be adapted for application in the local context.
Legionella spp. Risk Assessment in Recreational and Garden Areas of Hotels
Several Travel-associated Legionnaires’ disease (TALD) cases occur annually in Europe. Except from the most obvious sites (cooling towers and hot water systems), infections can also be associated with recreational, water feature, and garden areas of hotels. This argument is of great interest to better comprehend the colonization and to calculate the risk to human health of these sites. From July 2000–November 2017, the public health authorities of the Island of Crete (Greece) inspected 119 hotels associated with TALD, as reported through the European Legionnaires’ Disease Surveillance Network. Five hundred and eighteen samples were collected from decorative fountain ponds, showers near pools and spas, swimming pools, spa pools, garden sprinklers, drip irrigation systems (reclaimed water) and soil. Of those, 67 (12.93%), originating from 43 (35.83%) hotels, tested positive for Legionella (Legionella pneumophila serogroups 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 and non-pneumophila species (L. anisa, L. erythra, L. taurinensis, L. birminghamensis, L. rubrilucens). A Relative Risk (R.R.) > 1 (p < 0.0001) was calculated for chlorine concentrations of less than 0.2 mg/L (R.R.: 54.78), star classification (<4) (R.R.: 4.75) and absence of Water Safety Plan implementation (R.R.: 3.96). High risk (≥104 CFU/L) was estimated for pool showers (16.42%), garden sprinklers (7.46%) and pool water (5.97%).
Assessing operational performance benefits of a Water Safety Plan implemented in Southwestern France
Aims: The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended Water Safety Plans (WSPs)
since 2004 as a means to reduce drinking water contamination and risks to human health.
These risk management programs have shown promise across several potential areas of
evaluation, such as economic benefits and regulatory compliance. Since WSPs are largely
carried out by people who interact with water treatment equipment and processes, operational
performance indicators may be key to understanding the mechanisms behind desirable WSP
impacts such as water quality and public health improvement.
Method: This study reports performance measures collected at a WSP implementation
location in southwestern France over several years.
Results: Quantitative assessment of performance measures supported qualitative reports from
utility managers. Results indicate significantly reduced duration of low-chlorine events at one
production facility and a significant decrease in customer complaints related to water quality,
manifesting reported improvements in operational performance and the customer service
Conclusion: The findings demonstrate some success stories and potential areas of future
performance tracking. Cyclical iteration of the WSP can help to achieve continuous quality
improvement. Successfully applied evaluation criteria such as the number of water quality
complaints or alarm resolution time might be useful across other locations.
Strengthening operations & maintenance through water safety planning: A collection of case studies
This document presents case studies from lower and higher income settings around the world that highlight O&M benefits resulting from WSP implementation. These case studies contribute to a growing body of information on the outcomes of water safety planning and may be useful in building support for WSPs among water sector senior managers, operational staff and other stakeholders.
Climate Resilient Water Safety Strategic Framework Ethiopia
This framework provides the strategic blueprint to develop a climate orientated risk assessment and management approach for drinking-water supplies, from catchment to consumer.
Considered global best practice, WHO advocates for the WSP approach as the most consistent means to ensure the safe and reliable supply of safe drinking-water. Adapted to the Ethiopian context, this document outlines a roadmap for the national scale-up of climate resilient WSPs.
Training Package on Climate Resilient Water Safety Plan (CR-WSP)
This training toolkit aims to support roll-out of climate resilient WSPs in Nepal by capacitating national trainers. The training materials are based on international (WHO) and national (Department of Water Supply & Sanitation) best practices and experiences.
The training toolkit contains a “Facilitators handbook”, “Participants workbook” and presentations, to support the successful and consistent delivery of the national climate resilient WSP training program.
Climate Resilient Water Safety Plans Guideline: Urban Water Supply System
These guidelines have been developed to support urban water supply schemes in Nepal to development and implement climate resilient WSPs.
Climate Resilient Water Safety Plans Guideline: Rural Water Supply System
Based on international best practice and Nepal's Department of Water Supply & Sanitation experiences, these guidelines have been developed to support rural water supply schemes to development and implement an effective climate resilient WSP in rural settings.
Water safety plans in the European region: Promotional video
Small-scale systems are an important component of water supply in the WHO European Region, and Water Safety Plans (WSPs) are regarded the most effective approach to ensuring continuous provision of safe drinking-water.
The above is a short promotional video on WSPs in the WHO European Region.
Measuring the Impacts of Water Safety Plans in the Asia-Pacific Region
This study investigated the effectiveness of Water Safety Plans (WSP) implemented in 99 water supply systems across 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. An impact assessment methodology including 36 indicators was developed based on a conceptual framework proposed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and before/after data were collected between November 2014 and June 2016. WSPs were associated with infrastructure improvements at the vast majority (82) of participating sites and to increased financial support at 37 sites. In addition, significant changes were observed in operations and management practices, number of water safety-related meetings, unaccounted-for water, water quality testing activities, and monitoring of consumer satisfaction. However, the study also revealed challenges in the implementation of WSPs, including financial constraints and insufficient capacity. Finally, this study provided an opportunity to test the impact assessment methodology itself, and a series of recommendations are made to improve the approach (indicators, study design, data collection methods) for evaluating WSPs.
Time series study of weather, water quality, and acute gastroenteritis at Water Safety Plan implementation sites in France and Spain
Water Safety Plans (WSPs), recommended by the World Health Organization since 2004, can help drinking water suppliers to proactively identify potential risks and implement preventive barriers that improve safety. Few studies have investigated long-term impacts of WSPs, such as changes in drinking water quality or public health; however, some evidence from high-income countries associates WSP implementation with a reduction in diarrheal
disease. To validate the previously observed linkages between WSPs and health outcomes, this time series
study examined site-specific relationships between water-related exposures and acute gastroenteritis rates at three locations in France and Spain, including the role of WSP status. Relationships between control or exposure variables and health outcomes were tested using Poisson regression within generalized additive models. Controls included suspected temporal trends in disease reporting. Exposures included temperature, precipitation, raw water quality, and finished water quality (e.g., turbidity, free chlorine). In France, daily acute gastroenteritis cases were tracked using prescription reimbursements; Spanish data aggregated monthly acute gastroenteritis hospital visits. The models identified several significant relationships between indicators of exposure and acute gastroenteritis. Lag times of 6–9 days (including transit time) were most relevant for hydrological indicators (related to precipitation, runoff, and flow) at the two French sites, indicative of viral pathogens. Flush events (defined as surface runoff after a two-week antecedent dry period) linked to nonpoint source pollution were associated with a 10% increase in acute gastroenteritis rates at one location supplied by surface water. Acute gastroenteritis rates were positively associated with elevated turbidity average or maximum values in finished water at locations supplied by both surface and groundwater, by about 4% per 1-NTU increase in the two-week moving average of daily maxima or about 10% per 0.1 NTU increase in the prior month’s average value. In some
cases, risk appeared to be mitigated by WSP-related treatment interventions. Our results suggest drinking water exposure is associated with some potentially preventable gastrointestinal illness risk in high-income regions.
Water safety plan template including climate considerations for rural water supplies: United Rep. of Tanzania
This water safety plan (WSP) template was developed to support the integration of climate risks into the WSP approach in rural areas of the United Rep. of Tanzania. Examples are presented on how to complete the template, and the information should be considered and customized to the local context.
This template is based on WHO EURO (2014) Water safety plan: a field guide to improving drinking-water safety in small communities, but adapted to the local context.
This resource was developed as part of the Department for International Development (DFID, UK)-funded project on “Building adaptation to climate change in health in least developed countries through resilient WASH” which was implemented from 2013-2018 in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal and Tanzania.
Experiential Learning through Role-Playing: Enhancing Stakeholder Collaboration in Water Safety Plans
Improved water safety management, as addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals, can be aided by Water Safety Planning, a risk-assessment and risk-management approach introduced
by the World Health Organization and implemented to date in 93 countries around the globe. Yet, this approach still encounters some challenges in practice, including that of securing collaboration among the broad range of stakeholders involved. This paper presents a role-playing game designed to foster stakeholder collaboration in Water Safety Plans (WSP). In this role-play, participants take on different stakeholders’ roles during a collective (team-based) decision-making process to improve water supply safety in a fictive town. The game is the result of a transdisciplinary initiative aimed at integrating knowledge across technical and governance aspects of WSPs into an active learning experience for water sector actors from diverse backgrounds. It exposes participants to the four phases of Kolb’s experiential learning cycle: concrete experience, reflective observation, conceptualization and active experimentation. This paper discusses potential impacts of the WSP role-play, including skills and knowledge development among participants, which can support cross-sectoral integration and dealing with complexity in decision-making. These are capacity assets strongly needed to address water safety management challenges in a sustainable way.