Providing safe drinking water and sanitation services to the public requires using risk assessment and management frameworks, e.g. Water Safety Plans and Sanitation Safety Plans. An integrated water and sanitation safety plan (iWSSP) is a desirable approach for rural areas with limited resources and support. One-third of rural water supply systems in Serbia did not meet microbiological drinking water quality standards. Moreover, rural areas have less access to safely managed drinking water and sanitation compared to urban areas.

This project was funded by the German Federal Environment Ministry’s Advisory Assistance Programme (AAP) for environmental protection in Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia and other countries neighbouring the European Union. It was supervised by the German Environment Agency (UBA).

Goal of the project

The project’s primary goal was to establish an advanced safe water and sanitation service provision in small systems in rural areas in Serbia. The project’s team aimed to assess and demonstrate the feasibility of integrating water and sanitation safety planning through pilots at selected sites. This was done by developing templates and guidance on this novel approach, which were implemented at pilot sites. It is essential to build the capacity of safe water supply and sanitation services at local community and national level. This was accomplished by providing training workshops and in-depth support during implementation. Thus, public health risks associated to water and sanitation systems were identified. Stakeholders were supported on how to manage these risks. Based on project outputs, i.e. knowledge and tools, local communities, water suppliers, and public health institutes at regional and national levels were able to scale up the approach to additional rural communities and decision-making authorities. Ultimately, this will sustain good water and sanitation safety, including added benefits to the environment and population health in Serbia.

Who were involved 


  • Paper submitted to Journal on Water and Health
  • Templates are in development


  • Sensitisation workshop was held on 16th June 2021
  • A three-day training- and capacity-building workshop took place between the 21st and 23rd of September 2021
  • Implementation of integrated water and sanitation safety planning in rural areas in Serbia

RIVM role  

RIVM acted as project coordinator.