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.