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


Contents table
1. Literature review
2. Involvement of FAIRWAY case studies 
3. Learning module

1. Literature review

To start the task and to prepare stakeholder involvement, a brief literature review was done to learn more about water safety planning, for small and large water supply systems. Literature was found on integrated risk assessment and risk management, as well as the current use of WSP in Europe. Different reports from the WHO and IWA were examined and academic literature was consulted. The literature review can be found in »Water safety planning.

2. Involvement of FAIRWAY case studies

An integral and essential aspect of the FAIRWAY Project is the element of case studies. Thirteen case studies, in eleven countries, are part of FAIRWAY (see Figure 1). These case studies generate practical experiences, which are analysed within the work packages to identify the barriers and success factors associated with achieving water quality targets. In each case study a so-called Multi-Actor Platform (MAP) has been set up to facilitate effective cooperation between actors of different sectors and levels, including farmers, advisors, drinking water companies, scientists and policy makers. Each case is led by a so-called case study leader (CSL) and/or MAP leader who is linked to one of the FAIRWAY project partners.

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Figure 1

To derive information and lessons learned on Water Safety Planning from the case studies, questionnaires have been sent out to case study leaders (CSLs) in two rounds. While answering questionnaires, CSL were free to involve other stakeholders from the MAP. In the first questionnaire CSL were asked whether a Water Safety Plan (or equivalent) is in place within their case study location. In total nine out of thirteen CSL have indicated to have a WSP in place. Four case studies indicated to not have a WSP in place in their case study area (see Table 1).

  • Island Tunø, DK: there is no specific requirement for setting up a WSP since the case is supplying less than 750.000 m³ /year.
  • La Voulzie, FR: no specific WSP exists, but it is part of an existing Water Sanitary Safety Management Plan.
  • North Greece, GR: no WSP exists.
  • Dravsko Polje, SI: there is no legal basis yet for WSP. However, it was indicated that water companies have to establish internal control on the basis of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) system. Introduction of WSP is foreseen by amendment of legislation on drinking water.

Table 1 Result first questionnaire on having a WSP

Case study Water safety plan in place? Comments
Island Tunø, DK No No specific requirement for setting up WSP. Public water supply systems supplying more than 750.000 m3 /year must introduce ISO22000, or a system based on HACCP (or equivalent).
Aalborg, DK Yes  
Anglian Region, UK Yes  
La Voulzie, FR No No WSP, but part of Water Sanitary Safety Management Plan.
Lower Saxony, DE Yes  
North Greece, GR No  
Derg catchment, UK Yes  
Overijssel, NL Yes  
Noord-Brabant, NL Yes  
Vansjø, NO Yes  
Baixo Mondego, PT Yes  
Arges-Vedea, RO Yes  
Dravsko Polje, SI No No legal basis yet for WSP in Slovenia. Water companies have to establish internal control on the basis of HACCP system. Introduction of WSP is foreseen by amendment of legislation on drinking water.

In the second round, questions were asked to distill more details on the Water Safety Plan approach: on the register of water supplies, risk assessment and management, communication and awareness, and roles and responsibilities. The questionnaire is included in »Annex 4. The following countries have shared more in-depth information on Water Safety Planning either by answering the questionnaire or by sharing literature / reports on local WSP:

  • Island Tunø, DK
  • Aalborg, DK
  • Anglian Region, UK
  • Lower Saxony, DE
  • North Greece, GR
  • Overijssel, NL
  • Noord-Brabant, NL
  • Vansjø, NO
  • Baixo Mondego, PT
  • Arges-Vedea, RO
  • Dravsko Polje, SI

Some case studies could not provide more in-depth information for various reasons:

  • Derg catchment, UK: No further information about the WSP could be provided. The reasons for this is that the local WSP is an internal document that was developed by Northern Ireland-Water staff without involvement of external organisations or stakeholders.
  • La Voulzie, FR: The case study leader of the French case study does not work for the organization that is responsible for the Water Sanitary Safety Management Plan. Therefore no further information could be provided.

The provided information from the case studies on their Water Safety Plan approach has been analysed. This has resulted in lessons learned and recommendations for water safety planning for both large and small supplies (»Lessons learned and recommendations).

3. Learning module

A learning module was developed to guide the reader through the process of assessing vulnerability, hazards and risks, and identifying mitigation measures. These specific steps of the WSP approach relate to the availability, use and interpretation of data.

The learning module was used with the Greek case study leader on January 13, 2020, since no WSP is in place for this case study (»Annex 3). It was a valuable exercise since it showed the challenges that are faced in Greece, and displayed that the WSP can be an instrument for the management of the water supply in the broadest sense. The WSP, for example, helps in the deliberation and substantiation of the decision to either take measures at the source, to dilute or purify the water, or to leave the abstraction site. Furthermore Water Safety Planning has the potential to promote continuation and long-term vision, and the WSP approach can aid in building trust among the public, stakeholders and government agencies that the water supplied is safe.


Notes: For full references to papers quoted in this article see »References

Download Annex 3 containing the learning module and North Greece case study evaluation

Download Annex 4 containing the case study questionnaire


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