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 Anglian Region case study is 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).

Anglian Region 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)

Anglian Region 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: RA/RM is covered in regulation 27 and 28 of the Water Quality regulations set by Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in the UK. Regulation covers all sizes of public water supply. Private Boreholes are covered by Private Borehole Regulations, which are enforced by Local Council, which submit a risk assessment as defined by the Private Water Supply Regulations.

Responsibilities: Asset register for boreholes - Water company. Register for abstraction licencing purposes - Environment Agency. RA/RM - Water company (main actors - Water Quality Risk Team and Water Resources and Catchment Team). Check and audit RA - Drinking Water Inspectorate.

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?

Every water company has the ability to risk assess following the template of Regulation 28 of the Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations. All sources - large and small are treated the same in terms of risk assessment process. One size fits all. Training wise- modules that internal Anglian Water staff do in relation to Reg 28. Vulnerability of aquifer to pollution is assessed, and hazards are identified. Methods used: GIS datasets, catchment walkovers, history of sample results, investigations, modelling.

Risks are identified in different stages of the water supply system: catchment risks, treatment risks, supply risks, customer risks – all link in together. Risks are scored in low, medium and high risks. Based on Source-Pathway-Receptor model a database is used, which draws from a number of different AW internal datasets and the outputs from onsite assessments/audits. It calculates the risk for specific hazard groups, based on a number of pre-defined components. Likelihood is incorporated into the scoring mechanism. Risk scores are validated on an annual basis using actual sample data and risk scores adjusted accordingly.

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?  

There are many stakeholders who interact with the supply of water from source to tap who are consulted as part of the RA process, both internally and externally. Multiple stakeholders, such as farmers, amenity, horse owners, are also involved in terms of catchment management. Water Quality risk team and Water Resources and Catchment Team are the main actors involved.

2. Key lessons learned

Key lessons learned from Anglian Region 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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