Lessons learned and recommendations for Water Safety Plans
|Main authors:||Cors van den Brink, Sarah Zernitz, Alma de Vries|
|Source document:||»van den Brink, C. et al. (2021) Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Water Safety Plans. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 2.4, 97 pp|
Safe drinking water is vital for the health and wellbeing of all. However, providing safe drinking water can be a complex challenge. In this section of FAIRWAYiS we delve into the topic of 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 (WSP) for both small and large water supplies.
We start by exploring the global and European context for safe water provision in the Sustainable Development Goals and EU Drinking Water Directive. Water Safety Planning (WSP) is a specific step-wise approach involving comprehensive risk assessment and risk management (RA/RM) and covering all steps in the water supply system.
The 13 FAIRWAY case studies were surveyed to see whether or not a WSP (or equivalent) is in place within their location. Further questions were asked to distill more details on the WSP approach: on the register of water supplies, RA/RM, communication and awareness, and stakeholder roles and responsibilities.
»Approach and methodology
It was found that in most case studies some form of agreed methodology for RA/RM / Water Safety Planning is in place, often embedded in national regulations. There are differences between case studies whether the same regulations apply to large and small supplies. Also the responsible authority/authorities vary between the case studies, although, in most the water supply company is responsible for RA/RM.
»Water safety planning
Key lessons learned are that
- engagement of stakeholders is essential during all phases of RA/RM / Water Safety Planning;
- 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; and
- an agreed upon methodology and content enhances the effectiveness of Water Safety Planning and cooperation and communication between those involved.
The information from the FAIRWAY case studies mainly applies to large supplies. Nevertheless, we make some recommendations for small supplies based on general information on water safety planning and experience and procedures used for small supplies. In the case of small supplies, a main challenge is the limited availability of specialized knowledge and expertise, and access to information and technical support. It is recommended to assess the risks, for example via a quick scan, by analysing the specific vulnerability and local threats. Furthermore, small suppliers can be aided by developing networks for cooperation, for example in such a way that small suppliers can cooperate with large suppliers to get access to necessary competence and knowledge.
»Lessons learned and recommendations