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 Overijssel 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).

Overijssel 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)

Overijssel 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: It is worked out in the procedure to set-up Drinking Water Protection Files and embedded in the WFD-activities & procedures. The obligation for RA/RM only applies to large drinking water abstractions. Small / Industrial abstractions have either no obligation to report regularly or report to the industrial food safety authority.

Responsibilities: Province (regional government) is responsible for RA/RM.

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?

RA/RM is executed by the Drinking Water Protection File. In a national platform the table of content is agreed on and the province is in charge of the process to set-up these DWPF.

The DWPF describes the status of a drinking water abstraction, assesses the vulnerability, assesses risks (both physical and from lacking protection policy) and formulates measures to overcome these risks / meet the WFD of simple purification effort. The Province chaires the project team which sets up the DWPF and is in charge of involving all relevant stakeholders. Stakeholders are asked to provide info about potential risks, check that info and are also consulted about possible measures in which they are involved.

For small supplies: in certain instances a quick-scan of the risks is carried out.

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?  

Province (authority), drinking water company, municipalities, water boards, agricultural lobby organization (main stakeholders). Depending on specific issues, other stakeholders may be involved: railway, industry, national water authority.

2. Key lessons learned

Key lessons learned from Overijssel 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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