Water safety plan
Comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach from water catchment to consumption.
The Water safety plan concept was developed by the World Health Organization and was included in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality 2004. A water safety plan consists of a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that encompasses all steps in water supply from catchment to consumer .
PURPOSE & LINK TO INTEGRITY
The aim of a water safety plan is to consistently ensure the safety and acceptability of a drinking water supply . Furthermore, by increasing the transparency in the management of water supply services, it easier to detect any illicit practices and resulting inefficiencies in the steps in water supply from catchment to consumer.
Does the organization have a organizational structure or job descriptions in place that determine who is responsible for which activity along the water supply steps? (See also tools Corporate governance structure and Job descriptions)
There is not one way to develop and implement water safety plans; the approach should fit in with the way a utility is organized and operates, otherwise it will not be accepted in the organization. The WHO provides a manual to develop and implement water safety plans and recommends the following step-wise approach :
- Set up a team and decide on a methodology by which the water safety plan will be developed. It is important that this team has adequate experience and expertise to understand water abstraction, treatment and distribution and the hazards that can affect safety through the supply system. For small utilities, additional external expertise may be helpful.
- Identify all the hazards and hazardous events (including corrupt practices) that can affect the safety of a water supply from the catchment, through treatment and distribution through the consumer´s point of use
- Assess the risk presented by each hazard and hazardous event
- Consider if controls or barriers are in place for each significant risk and if these are effective
- Validate the effectiveness of controls and barriers
- Implement an improvement plan where necessary
- Demonstrate that the system is consistently safe
- Regularly review the hazards, risks and controls
- Keep accurate records for transparency and justification of outcomes
KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS
Bartram et al, 2009, Water Safety Plan Manual – Step by step risk management for drinking water suppliers, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland
Davison et al, 2005, Water Safety Plans – Managing drinking-water quality from catchment to consumer, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland
 Bartram et al, 2009, Water Safety Plan Manual – Step by step risk management for drinking water suppliers, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland