From 26 – 28 June 2017, Harold van den Berg (RIVM) and Giuliana Ferrero (UNESCO-IHE) conducted a training to explain the Water Safety Plan (WSP) approach of the World Health Organization (WHO) and train water quality experts as an international facilitator for implementation of WSP in small or large urban drinking-water supplies. The training also focused on inter-cultural aspects facilitators may face during implementation of WSP in different countries.

Water quality monitoring

One of the greatest risks to public health is exposure to human pathogens in drinking-water. These pathogens, from human and animal origin, include bacteria, viruses, parasites and helminths. Water quality monitoring, including testing the microbial quality of water, and safe management of water supplies ensure drinking-water safety and thus protect public health.

WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality

The WHO Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) recommend that countries apply the safe drinking water framework ensuring drinking water safety. Water Safety Planning (WSP), part of this framework, is an ongoing and iterative cycle for all steps in the water cycle. The WSP approach is the most effective means of consistently ensuring the safety of a drinking-water supply through the use of comprehensive risk assessment and risk management that encompass all steps in water supply, from catchment to consumer.  Monitoring should be applied as part of the WSP approach to managing drinking-water safety, as articulated in the WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality.

WSP implementation

Both WSP and water quality monitoring can be done for all kinds of water systems, such as large scale drinking water production facilities and small scale water supplies. The WHO is continuously developing supporting materials for implementation of WSP for all types of drinking water supplies, like handbooks and field guidance, which are focusing on specific parts of WSP implementation or in different contexts.