Main authors: Cors van den Brink, Sarah Zernitz, Alma de Vries
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: »van den Brink, C. et al. (2021) Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Water Safety Plans. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 2.4, 97 pp


One of FAIRWAY's research topics is Water Safety Planning for adequate drinking water protection for small and large supplies. Our aim is to stimulate the improvement of drinking water safety across the European Union by sharing context, best practices and lessons learned on Water Safety Planning for both small and large water supplies (see »Lessons learned and recommendations for Water Safety Plans).

Data and information was collected from the Aalborg case study and used as described here.

Contents table
1. Survey of case studies
2. Key lessons learned

1. Survey of case studies

All 13 FAIRWAY case studies were surveyed to see whether or not a Water Safety Plan (WSP), or equivalent, is in place within their area (see »Approach and methodology).

Aalborg does have a Water Safety Plan in place.

Further questions were asked to distill more details on the WSP approach: on the register of water supplies, risk assessment/risk management (RA/RM), communication and awareness, and stakeholder roles and responsibilities (see »Lessons learned and recommendations)

Aalborg case study provided the following information about the local Water Safety Plan.

1.1 How is Water Safety Planning (RA/RM) organised in the case study country (regulations and responsibilities)? And are there differences in how this is organized for (very) small and large supplies?

National regulation: The Order on Quality Assurance of Public Water Supply systems is the Danish implementation of WSP and the Drinking Water Directive. In this order (section 4.) it is stated that public water-supply systems supplying more than 750,000 m3 of water per year must meet the requirements of § 3 by introducing ISO22000, or systems based on HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points) or equivalent systems. This ISO standard does not apply to small supplies. Different method of quality assurance must be introduced by smaller supplies. In Denmark there are around 50.000 private wells. For private wells there is a low degree of regulations and no demands on monitoring the quality.

Responsibilities: Keep and maintain register of water supplies - municipalities, state and water works. RA/RM and WSP - water works and the municipalities.

1.2 How is the risk assessment and risk management executed? Are there differences in how RA/RM is carried out for (very) small and large supplies?

Waterworks is certified after four standards:

  • ISO 14001 (environmental management).
  • OHSAS 18001 (safety management).
  • ISO 22000 (Food Safety).
  • Quality and Management system in the electricity field.

A water safety plan for a large supply in Denmark is a combination of these certifications, environmental status reports, action plans and groundwater protection plans.

For large supplies the ISO22000 standards apply, which do not apply to smaller ones (17.000-750.000 m3 per year). Smaller water supplies must introduce quality assurance by: 1) mapping water supply and quality thereof; 2) mapping water supply’s operating procedures; 3) assess the risk of contamination of the water from the overall production system; 4) draw up an action plan; 5) continuously monitor and document that the supply has implemented the planned measures. In Denmark there are around 50.000 private wells. For private wells there no demands on monitoring the quality.

1.3 How are stakeholders involved in Water Safety Planning (RA/RM)? (How) does this contribute to increased protection or support for measures? Are there differences between (very) small and large supplies?  

Municipalities and water works.

2. Key lessons learned

Key lessons learned from Aalborg and all case studies are that

  1. Engagement of stakeholders is essential during all phases of RA/RM / Water Safety Planning.
  2. The designation of a process owner helps in bringing together departments and stakeholders, spreading information throughout organizations and providing congruence between different RA/RM systems.
  3. An agreed upon methodology and content enhances the effectiveness of Water Safety Planning and cooperation and communication between those involved.


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