Water safety planning for small community water supplies: Step-by-step risk management guidance for drinking water supplies in small communities- A manual by World Health Organisation

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Posted on September 20, 2012 - 13:00
This manual by the World Health Organisation sheds light on the water safety planning for drinking water systems in the context of small community managed water supply

This manual by the World Health Organisation is applicable to piped schemes, point sources such as hand pumps, protected springs or household rainwater harvesting systems and other sources. Further it provides a step-by-step approach for those charged with dealing with the everyday realities of maintaining a reliable and safe water supply.

The rationale for having water safety plans is explained by answering the following questions:

  •  What are small community water supplies, and why are they important?
  •  What is a WSP?
  •  Why should WSPs be applied in small community water supplies?

The manual then goes on to list out the six tasks that are required for developing and implementing WSP in small community, which are as follows:

  •  Task 1 – Engage the community and assemble a WSP team.
  •  Task 2 – Describe the community water supply.
  •  Task 3 – Identify and assess hazards, hazardous events, risks and existing control measures.
  •  Task 4 – Develop and implement an incremental improvement plan.
  •  Task 5 – Monitor control measures and verifies the effectiveness of the WSP.
  •  Task 6 – Document, review and improve all aspects of WSP implementation.

In the next level the key water safety planning principles are highlighted:

  •  Understanding and committing to achieving drinking-water safety are prerequisites to the implementation of any effective WSP.
  •  Water safety can be effectively and sustainably improved through the use of a preventive risk management approach.
  •  The WSP approach is meant to be flexible and adapted as needed.
  •  The greatest risk to drinking-water safety is contamination with disease-causing microorganisms.
  •  Risks to the safety of drinking-water are best controlled using a multiple-barrier approach.
  •  Incremental improvements to the water supply system can be made over time, with the aim to eventually achieve water quality targets or objectives.
  •  Any (sudden) change in the local environment should result in investigative action to confirm that drinking water is safe or to provide information on how to undertake corrective actions.
  •  Any complaints about illness, taste, colour or smell require follow-up to ensure that the drinking-water continues to be safe.
  •  Regular review of the WSP (including newly identified risks) is critical to ensure that water safety planning remains up to date and effective.

Click here to read the full manual.

Year: 
2012