Water safety plan
A water safety plan is a plan to ensure the safety of drinking water through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that encompasses all steps in water supply from catchment to consumer.
During the revision of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) the value of the Water Safety Plan (WSP) approach has repeatedly been highlighted in a series of expert review meetings in Berlin (2000), Adelaide (2001) and Loughborough (2001).
Water safety plans are considered by the WHO as the most effective means of maintaining a safe supply of drinking water to the public. Their use should ensure that water is safe for all forms of human consumption and that it meets regulatory water standards relating to human health. ("Consumption" includes not only drinking per se, but also other forms of ordinary contact, such as bathing, dishwashing, and inhaling aerosolised water droplets.) Comprehensive risk assessment and risk management form the backbone of these plans, which aim to steer management of drinking water-related health risks away from end-of-pipe monitoring and response.
In order to produce a plan, a thorough assessment of the water supply process from water source to the consumer's tap must be carried out by the water provider. Hazards and risks should be identified, and appropriate steps towards minimizing these risks are then investigated.
There are three key components to any Water Safety Plan (WSP):
- a system assessment, which determines if the drinking water supply chain as a whole is capable of supplying water of sufficiently high a standard to meet regulatory targets;
- operational monitoring, in order to identify control measures in the drinking water system; and
- management plans, which document the system assessment, describe actions taken during various operational conditions and define monitoring and communication plans.
WSPs in England and Wales
- WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality - First Addendum to Third Edition, Volume I: Recommendations, 2006, p. 48
- Water safety plans: Managing drinking-water quality from catchment to consumer by Annette Davison, Guy Howard, Melita Stevens, Phil Callan, Lorna Fewtrell, Dan Deere and Jamie Bartram, WHO 2005
- Water safety plan manual: step-by-step risk management for drinking-water suppliers. http://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/75141: World Health Organization. 2009. ISBN 9789241562638.
- http://www.dwi.gov.uk/guidance/Guide%20to%20wsp.pdf DWI – A brief guide to drinking water safety plans October 2005