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.
A Conceptual Framework to Evaluate the Impacts of Water Safety Plans
This paper outlines a conceptual framework for conducting this type of overall evaluation of the impacts of a WSP. Drawing examples from existing WSPs in various regions, the framework also illustrates the types of intermediate outcomes that can be expected during WSP implementation. This conceptual framework, which requires some familiarity with WSPs, is designed to be one of a set of tools to guide the implementation and evaluation of Water Safety Plans, along with the WHO guidelines (WHO, 2006), the Water Safety Plan Manual (Bartram et al, 2009) and other tools and resources developed for national or regional use1
A field guide to improving small drinking-water supplies: water safety planning for rural communities
The WHO Guidelines for drinking-water quality recommend the water safety plan (WSP) approach as the most effective way of ensuring continuous provision of safe drinking-water.
The challenges related to drinking-water supply in rural areas and small towns are of notable concern globally, but the WSP approach has been proven to work effectively in small-scale water supplies. It clearly emphasizes the importance of preventing waterborne disease, and supports communities in dealing with the everyday challenges of maintaining a reliable and safe water supply.
This second, updated edition of WHO’s Water safety plan: a field guide to improving drinking-water safety in small communities provides a step-by-step introduction to the WSP approach and includes a range of ready-to-use templates to assist those involved in rural water supply with developing and implementing their own WSPs.
A guide to conducting household surveys for Water Safety Plans
The aim of this manual is to provide guidance on conducting a household survey as part of a Water Safety Plan for organized piped water supply systems in resource-limited settings. A household survey can help researchers to understand the fate of water from the time it reaches the home to the point of consumption. This survey contributes to Module 2 (System Assessment) of the Water Safety Plan, upon which the subsequent steps of hazard identification, consideration of control measures, and development of corrective actions, monitoring, and verification plans are based. Thus, the survey provides valuable information for the WSP team as the team goes through the process of system evaluation and implementation of changes resulting from the Water Safety Plan. Specific examples intended to guide the planner in designing the survey are provided in the appendices. A summary checklist for survey planning and completion is provided as Appendix A.
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.
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.
A practical guide to auditing Water Safety Plans
This document provides guidance on developing and implementing a WSP auditing scheme, covering such topics as the aim and role of auditing, auditor training and certification, audit criteria, audit timing and frequency and audit reporting. The guidance document includes examples, tips, tools and case studies, and it serves as a practical resource for policy makers, government bodies responsible for drinking-water regulation or surveillance and water suppliers implementing WSPs.
A role-playing game for practising stakeholder collaboration in Water Safety Plans
One of the challenges in the implementation of Water Safety Plans (WSPs) is stakeholder engagement. For this reason, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education has developed a role-playing game for practising stakeholder collaboration in WSP. The game can be used in WSP training or during educational activities for water safety and WSP at graduate and post-graduate level. Its goal is for participants to experience the importance of stakeholder engagement in WSPs, and particularly in the decision-making process when investing in the rehabilitation and maintenance of a drinking water supply system from catchment to consumers. Participants will experience how this process can be influenced by information exchange between stakeholders and how this will eventually lead to greater awareness when assembling the WSP team.
An Economic Assessment of Drinking Water Safety PlanningKoror-Airai, Palau
This document describes a preliminary economic assessment of the Koror-Airai, Palau drinking water safety plan. The information generated is to be used to inform stakeholders in Palau of the rewards from supporting the DWSP approach, demonstrating the potential benefits of investing in the Plan.
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.
Assessing the costs and benefits of Water Safety Plans
A survey was conducted to assess the costs and benefits of the WSPs developed at 197 production units operated by the SUEZ Company and serving a total of 10.6 million consumers in France, Spain, Cuba, Morocco and Macao. The results demonstrate benefits in terms of confidence of clients and health agencies. The main benefits however consist of a better control of hazards, especially new hazards that were previously overlooked, and of the treatments steps which are deemed as the most important for water safety. As the progress achieved is essentially linked with unregulated contaminants, improvements in compliance rate were rarely observed after implementation of WSPs. It is supposed that better control of these hazards, together with improved process control, result in improved safety for the consumers.
Backsiphonage into the distribution network
This document sets out information which allows water suppliers and others to work together to minimise the risk of backsiophange (that is, the reverse flow condition created by a difference in water pressures that causes water and associated contaminants to flow back into drinking-water distribution pipes).
Bangladesh: Water safety plan
Under AusAid funding, WHO supported WSP implementation in 10 urban systems in Bangladesh. This case study reports on WSP facts, and provides a description of the status of urban and rural water supply in Bangladesh.
Benefits of Water Safety Plans: Microbiology, Compliance, and Public Health
The article describes an Icelandic study to determine the impact of WSP implementation on regulatory compliance, microbiological water quality, and incidence of clinical cases of diarrhea.
Bhutan: Water safety plan
Under AusAid funding, WHO supported WSP implementation in Bhutan. This case study reports on key facts of the WSPs, and describes the status of water supply in Bhutan.
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.
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.
Capacity Training on Urban Water Safety Planning – Training Modules
These training materials have been developed by the South-East Asia Regional Office of WHO to be used either to train trainers or to train operators of water supply utilities or sector stakeholders. They are intended for use by governments, NGOs, private sector, academic institutions and individuals. They may be used intensively over three or five days or included in longer educational programs either as part of academic courses or as part of continuing professional development training. They comprise:
- Presenters Guide,
- Participant’s Handbook,
- PowerPoint slides notes for presenter and PowerPoint Handouts for participants,
- Worksheets and other resources for participants
- Table group worksheets for use during the training programme.
Case Study on Water Safety Plan Implementation and Lessons Learned: WSP auditing Victoria Australia
This case study describes the implementation of WSP and lessons learned in Victoria Australia. This case study has a specific focus on auditing WSPS.
Checklist for auditing a drinking water treatment plant
This checklist is conceived as an on-site, concise tool to support the Egyptian Water Regulatory Agency (EWRA) inspectors in performing a comprehensive audit of drinking water treatment plants. It covers both management and technical aspects of service provision in assuring adequate level of performance for health and environmental protection. The list is composed of 8 sections, encompassing:
- identification and service data
- local (outside) circumstances and security issues
- organization, human resources, procedures and training
- workplace safety, environmental and equipment conditions
- operations and maintenance
- power supply and ancillary services
- drinking water network
- laboratory, reporting and monitoring data
Chemical safety of drinking-water: Assessing priorities for risk management
This text provides guidance on the chemical safety of drinking-water. Chemical contaminants of drinking-water are often considered a lower priority than microbial contaminants, because adverse health effects from chemical contaminants are generally associated with long-term exposures, whereas the effects from microbial contaminants are usually immediate. Nonetheless, chemicals in water supplies can cause very serious problems. The objective of this text is to help users at national or local level to establish which chemicals in a particular setting should be given priority in developing strategies for risk management and monitoring of chemicals in drinking-water. The document will be useful to public health authorities, those responsible for setting standards and for surveillance of drinking-water quality, and to water supply agencies responsible for water quality management. In particular, this publication will be applicable in settings where information on actual drinking-water quality is limited, which is the case in many developing countries and in rural areas of some developed countries.
Climate Change and Health – Ethiopia – Lesson learned documentation WASH sector
The purpose of this document is to share Ethiopia’s experience in the implementation of the "Building adaptation to climate change in health in least developed countries through WASH project" especially the WASH sector with development partners, government bodies and project implementing member countries. It includes valuable lessons learned from development and implementation of climate-resilient water safety plans and associated policy.
Climate Ready Water Utilities
Climate change is important to consider in all aspects of utility operations and planning because it can impact both the water resources as well as the infrastructure necessary to provide clean and safe water. The Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative is a practical and easy to use tool developed by EPA to assists the drinking water, waste water and stormwater utilities in understanding and addressing climate change risks and impacts as well as preparing operators systems’ for the impacts of climate change.
CLIMATE RESILIENT WATER SAFETY PLAN IMPLEMENTATION – Guidelines for Community Managed Rural Drinking Water Supplies
The purpose of these Ethiopian guidelines is to provide step-by-step guidance to the rural community/board managed water supplies on how to develop, implement, monitor, and review the rural community managed water safety plans aimed at protecting human health. Furthermore, it serves as a practical tool in identifying and addressing priority risks to the water quality and quantity, reliability and sustainability of the rural water supply system including risks related to current and future impacts of climate changes by taking into consideration available resources and capacities of the water supply system.
CLIMATE RESILIENT WATER SAFETY PLAN IMPLEMENTATION – Guidelines for Urban Utility Managed Drinking Water Supplies
The purpose of these Ethiopian guidelines is to provide step-by-step guidance to the operators and managers of the large, medium and small urban water supplies with conventional water treatment systems on how to develop, implement, monitor, and review the water safety plans aimed at protecting human health. Furthermore, it serves as practical tool in identifying and addressing priority risks to the water quality and quantity, reliability and sustainability of the water supply system including risks related to current and future impacts of climate changes by taking into consideration available resources and capacities of the water supply system.
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.
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.
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 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.
Climate-resilient water safety plans: Managing health risks associated with climate variability and change
This document provides guidance on how climate considerations can be integrated into water safety planning to provide greater resilience to the current and predicted impacts of climate change and variability on water supplies. The guidance is supported by numerous practical examples of climate resilient water safety planning from both low and high income settings.
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
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.
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.
Compilation of potential hazardous events and their causes
This interactive tool supports the implementation of the WSP step of hazard assessment by providing an overview of hazardous events, including those relating to climate change. The compilation was piloted and adapted based on experiences gathered, and aims to support practitioners, particularly water suppliers, health agencies and consultants, in implementing WSPs for climate resiliance. It was piloted in large (urban), professionally managed water supplies in limited resource settings, however, can also be applied and adapted for water supplies in other settings. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, and may need to be adapted for application in the local context. It is intended to complement existing comprehensive guidance for implementation by providing a tool for practical application.
Comprehensive Framework for integrated risk management in WSP
Risk assessment and risk prioritisation are critical elements of a Water Safety Plan. However the process can be complex, require considerable resources and take a long time. Therefore before establishing a risk management system it is important to be clear on the most cost effective approach to meet local priorities and needs. This document provides an overview of the TECHNEAU Generic Framework, which is a comprehensive structure for integrated risk management from catchment to consumer in Water Safety Plans, considering both water quality and water quantity
Conducting consumer surveys of water acceptability
Communication with consumers is a key part of assessing and promoting the acceptability of drinking water supplies with consumers. The evaluation of consumer acceptability and knowledge of consumer complaints are important components of assessing the overall effectiveness of a WSP and an essential part of the verification of a WSP. This document summarises the main approaches to the collection and analysis of consumer acceptability through surveys.
Consumer Acceptability Case Study: Dunedin City Council, New Zealand
This case study provides an example of where a water supplier in New Zealand operates a Service Centre to respond quickly to customer complaints and assesses levels of consumer acceptability through analysis of complaint data and questionnaires.
Consumer Acceptability Data Case Study: Lyonnaise des Eaux, France
This case study provides an example of where a water supplier in France has established a system to collect consumer acceptability data via a group of volunteers. It provides one particular approach to the collection of opinions on the taste and odour of water supplied.
Consumer Acceptability Data Case Study: Yarra Valley Water, Australia
This case study provides an example of a water supplier in Australia which has undertaken research to understand consumer expectations in relation to water quality. This includes the use of surveys and focus groups. It also describes the approach the company takes to handling, recording, and reviewing complaints.
Corrosion and mains sediments
This document summarises the drinking-water quality risks associated with corrosion and sediment accumulation within distribution networks and describes ways that the risks can be mitigated.