Water Safety Plans & Operation and maintenance

Water Safety Plan (WSP) implementation is leading to improved water quality
and public health protection.

It is clear that to improve service delivery on a sustainable basis, there is an imperative
need to consider in more depth the O&M requirements of water and sanitation infrastructure.
These need to go beyond simply identifying current deficiencies and spending money on
rectifying obvious technical problems. It requires a more strategic and concerted approach.
Water Safety Planning is increasingly becoming the accepted norm for water utilities and
other smaller water operators as a way of ensuring safe delivery of water as a means of
reducing the incidence of water borne diseases. It is important to note that Water Safety
Plans are not only concerned about water supply infrastructure. They are also concerned
about the operation and maintenance of sanitation facilities and wastewater infrastructure,
as these assets are frequently identified to be the cause of contamination of the clean
water systems.

Water Safety Plans involve the development of new (or revision of existing) standard and
emergency operating procedures (SOPs and EOPs).  The process recognises the importance
of institutionalizing good O&M practices, with a particular emphasis on the mitigation of
risks through preventive actions combined with simple and consistent monitoring that allow
problems to be detected early and for remedial action to be taken immediately.

Once a Water Safety Plan has been completed; a water operator will often need to take
steps to address problems – many of which are related to O&M deficiencies. These include
technical deficiencies but a diagnosis of these problems often points towards other issues
related to the management of the utility. Rectifying these problems may require organizational
strengthening and institutional reform that are required to provide the right incentives for
improving O&M in addition to technical fixes.

It is therefore that the OMN promotes O&M through Water Safety Plan implementation.

To discover more about the development and implementation of Water Safety Plans click here
to access the Water Safety Plan Portal, to find more information about the eleven steps of the
Water Safety Plan Manual and access relevant tools, case studies and other reference documents.


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