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					Water Safety Plans for
Rural Water Supply in India
Policy Issues and
Institutional Arrangements

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Water Safety Plans for
Rural Water Supply in India

Policy Issues and
Institutional Arrangements
                                                                   Water Safety Plans for
                                                                   Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                   Policy Issues and
                                                                   Institutional Arrangements

Executive Summary                                5    Assigning Roles and Responsibilities             18

Introduction                                      6   Available Knowledge and Experience               19

Modern Approaches to Water Quality Management
                                                      A Suggested Approach to                          20
What is a Drinking Water Safety Plan?                 Demonstration and Implementation

                                                      A Pilot Demonstration in [xxx]
Background to this Report                         8
                                                      Gram Panchayats in [xxx] Districts
Previous Work and Justification for this Study
                                                      Water Safety Plans and
Objectives of the Study                               Service Improvement Plans

                                                      Outputs from the Study
Key Policy Issues                                 9

Adopting Drinking Water Safety Plans                  Annex 1: Development of                          22
                                                      Drinking Water Safety Plans
Establishing Roles And Responsibilities

Water Safety Plans as a Basis for Investment          Annex 2: List of Planning Templates              25

Setting Performance Targets to
                                                      Annex 3: Water Safety Plan                       26
Reflect Health Objectives
                                                      Sample Template
Policies on Interventions
                                                      List of Figures
Functions to Support Drinking                    13
                                                      Figure 1: The Bonn Charter Framework              6
Water Safety Planning
                                                      Figure 2: WHO Framework for                       7
Policy and Standards
                                                      Safe Drinking Water
Establishing a Program
                                                      Figure 3: Inverse Pyramid of Support              9
Reporting and Audit
                                                      Figure 4: Functions to Support Drinking          13
District Planning Coordination                        Water Safety Planning

Baseline Surveys for Water Quality
                                                      List of Tables
                                                      Table 1: Functions and Which                     18
Awareness Training                                    Organizations might Handle them in India

Management of Water Supply Systems                    Table A1: WHO Suggested Risk Scoring             23

Preparing a Water Safety Plan                         Table A2: Table for Recording                    24
                                                      Risk Assessment Information
Preparing an Operating Plan
                                                      Table A3: Record of Action Limits, Monitoring,   24
Checking the Operation of
                                                      and Corrective Actions
Drinking Water Safety Plans

Verification of Drinking Water Quality
Abbreviations and Acronyms
AFPRO    Action For Food Production
ASHA     Accredited Social Health Activist
BRC      Block Resource Center
CBO      community-based organization
CLTS     Community Led Total Sanitation
DASCOH   Development Association for Self-reliance, Communication, and Health
DDWS     Department of Drinking Water Supply
DESME    Department of Economics, Statistics, Monitoring, and Evaluation
DWSM     District Water and Sanitation Mission
DWSP     Drinking Water Safety Plan
ERRA     Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority
GIS      geographic information system
GP       Gram Panchayat
H2 S     hydrogen sulphide
HACCP    Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point
IEC      Information, Education, and Communication
IRSP     Integrated Rural Support Program
ITN      International Training Network
IWA      International Water Association
KP       Khyber–Pakhtunkhwa
NGO      nongovernmental organization
NRDWP    National Rural Drinking Water Program
NRHM     National Rural Health Mission
O&M      operations and maintenance
PIEDAR   Pakistan Institute for Environment—Development Action Research
PURC     Public Utilities Regulatory Commission
RMDD     Rural Management and Development Department
SHG      self help group
SIRD     State Institute of Rural Development
SO       support organizations
TSC      Total Sanitation Campaign
VERC     Village Education Resource Center
VWSC     Village Water and Sanitation Committee
WHO      World Health Organization
WSP      Water and Sanitation Program

                                                                                          Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                          Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                          Policy Issues and
                                                                                          Institutional Arrangements

Executive Summary
This report outlines the key principles of
water safety planning for rural water
supply in India. Water safety planning
represents a change of emphasis from
end-of-pipe testing to the management
of risks of contamination from source to
mouth. End-of-pipe testing is still
necessary to verify that safe drinking
water is being delivered.

The focus of the report is on the policy
issues concerning the adoption of water
safety planning and the institutional
arrangements (roles and responsibilities)
needed to operationalize the approach.
Recommendations are provided on                 Better management of drinking water        improvement programs, to make
demonstrating and implementing the              quality by preventing contamination        investment decisions with priorities
approach to establish a full program.           before it happens;                         based on local needs, to advise on
Key points are:                                                                            tariffs and subsidies, and to monitor
                                                Improved operations and
                                                                                           implementation and performance.
                                                maintenance (O&M) through adoption
   The main policy matter is the
                                                of control measures identified during      There is a need for well targeted field-
   adoption of the drinking Water Safety
                                                the risk assessment;                       based training programs, including
   Plan approach for rural supplies—
   this is strongly recommended; and            Emphasis on customer service               training of trainers (facilitators) who
                                                improvements linked to improved            would train technical and operational
   There are four other policy matters          public health, with improved               staff at the village level, as well as
   which emerge from that decision:             infrastructure as a means to that          orientation and training for higher level
                                                end; and                                   support functions. Training materials
      How to establish roles                                                               can be prepared and tested during
      and responsibilities;                     Water Safety Plans are based on field      pilot demonstrations, with
                                                surveys (or sanitary surveys) that         participation and ownership by
      Whether to use Water Safety
                                                directly link water supply, hygiene,       established training institutions or
      Plan improvement programs
                                                and sanitation, for example, in            nongovernmental organizations
      as the basis for planning
                                                addressing issues such as open             (NGOs) or other support
      and investment;
                                                defecation, solid and liquid waste, and    organizations (SOs).
      How to set performance targets            safe household storage and handling.
                                                                                           The recommended approach to
      to reflect health objectives; and      A Planning Coordination function is           implementation of the institutional
                                             critical when moving from pilot               arrangements is a combination of
      How to decide on interventions
      to reduce risk.                        demonstrations in a few villages to a full    demonstration pilots within selected
                                             program. The Planning Coordination            villages, together with advocacy and
There are various benefits that              function is needed to interpret policy on     activity mapping workshops at the
arise from the adoption of Water             service standards and cost recovery, to       district and state levels, and
Safety Plans:                                review village plans including their          workshops to train the trainers.

Modern Approaches to                                         In the past decade, two workshops                     drinking Water Safety Plans. Such
Water Quality Management                                     involving key people concerned with                   plans establish the key operational
                                                             drinking water quality were held in                   controls at each stage in the supply
The approach described in this
report to achieve safe drinking water                        Bonn in Germany, one in October 2001                  chain. There is reference to
quality in rural areas is based on                           and the other in February 2004, to seek               ‘verification’ and this is done by
initial work carried out in India, but is                    a better way of achieving safe drinking               sampling and testing, which is still
relevant to rural water supply in other                      water. The direct output was the Bonn                 important but is not seen as the
regions. The approach is based on                            Charter1 and indirectly the revised                   primary means of monitoring and
drinking Water Safety Plans, and how                         World Health Organization (WHO)                       control. The Bonn Charter emphasizes
the institutional arrangements (roles                        Drinking Water Guidelines.2 The                       the need for clarity of roles and
and responsibilities) needed to                              approach is encapsulated by the Bonn                  responsibilities, for transparency, and
operationalize the approach might                            Charter structure given in Figure 1.                  for sharing of information. The goal is
be established within existing                                                                                     ‘good safe water which has the trust of
institutional frameworks.                                    The key principle is to consider the                  consumers.’ This same approach is
                                                             entire supply chain from source to                    reflected in the WHO Guidelines, which
The emphasis on means of achieving                           mouth, and to take a risk management                  are summarized in Figure 2, and which
safe drinking water has changed.                             approach through the development of                   include health-based targets.
Internationally, in the past, there had
been a trend toward adding more
and more parameters to standards                                 Figure 1: The Bonn Charter framework
with an associated requirement for
sampling and analysis. This is an
approach which is still found in many
countries, including India.

This approach is unlikely to increase
protection of the public because,
if there are immediate impacts on
health from contamination of
drinking water, people will have
already become sick before the
analysis is carried out and before
remedial action can be taken. In
countries such as India, this is
particularly true in rural areas where
often there are no competent
laboratories in the vicinity, or the
protocols for water quality testing
are not well established.

  The Bonn Charter, International Water Association,
  Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality 2006, World Health
Organization, Geneva. http://www.who.int/
water_sanitation_health/dwq/gdwq3/en/                        Source: The Bonn Charter for Safe Drinking Water. IWA. September, 2004.

                                                                                                    Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                                    Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                                    Policy Issues and
                                                                                                    Institutional Arrangements

What is a Drinking                                Figure 2: WHO framework for safe drinking water
Water Safety Plan?

A full description of the process of
developing a drinking Water Safety
Plan is given in Annex 1. In essence it
involves the following steps:

   Define the supply system and
   form a team from those people
   responsible for each part of the
   supply chain from source
   to mouth;

   Consider all potential hazards and
   establish which ones constitute
   a significant risk to drinking
   water quality;

   Consider how each of these risks
   is controlled and whether the
   controls are adequate;

   As necessary, prepare an
   improvement program based on
   the inadequacy of controls and
   implement any aspects which can
   be put in place immediately;

   For each existing control set an
   action level, that is, a level at
   which there is concern that the
   control is failing and that some
   other action needs to be taken to
   protect public health; and

   Identify the monitoring of each
   control: who is responsible and at
   what frequency—the what,
   who, and when.
                                           Source: Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Third Edition. WHO. 2004.
Two further steps are required which
need a higher competence of
operational management, and in rural            Define what needs to be done                                Define how it can be verified that
India would require specific training or        immediately if an action limit is                           the reaction to a loss of a control
technical support:                              breached; and                                               has been successful.

Background to this Report
Previous Work and Justification               Integrated Rural Support Program       simple gravity-fed schemes for a group
for this Study                                (IRSP) are working in rural areas in   of houses to bulk supply for multivillage
                                              Punjab and Khyber–Pakhtunkhwa          schemes. In India today, there is
In line with this evolving response to
                                              (KP), and the Earthquake               increasing demand for piped water
water quality management, various
                                              Reconstruction and Rehabilitation      supply as a result of both water
agencies have been or are currently
                                              Authority (ERRA) and UNICEF            scarcity and depletion of groundwater,
piloting the development of Water
                                              are supporting water quality           and demand for higher levels
Safety Plans in the South Asia region:
                                              management in emergencies and          of service.
     In India, this includes UNICEF,          disasters (inclusive of water safety
     WaterAid, and Action For Food                                                   Work on Water Safety Plans carried out
                                              planning) in a number of areas such
                                                                                     to date has been valuable in helping to
     Production (AFPRO) in rural areas,       as Northern Areas and KP.
                                                                                     set out what Water Safety Plans should
     and WHO in urban centers;
                                           Generic Water Safety Plans for the        look like at the scale of a single water
     In Bangladesh, the Village            most basic rural water supply systems,    supply system. The broader,
     Education Resource Center             namely dug wells, tubewells, rainwater    institutional level, the assignment of
     (VERC), WaterAid, and the             harvesting, and pond sand filters, have   roles and responsibilities for water
     Development Association for                                                     quality management, the development
                                           been developed by the International
     Self-reliance, Communication, and                                               of appropriate institutional incentives
                                           Training Network (ITN) Center in
     Health (DASCOH), are working in                                                 for stakeholders to undertake their
                                           Bangladesh. To complement this
     rural areas, and WHO is working in                                              assigned roles, and the critical role of
                                           existing body of work, the work carried
     urban centers; and                                                              individual and collective behavior
                                           out by the Water and Sanitation
                                                                                     change are addressed in this report.
     In Pakistan, the Pakistan Institute   Program (WSP), which is presented in
     for Environment—Development           this report, has focused primarily on
     Action Research (PIEDAR) and          rural piped schemes, ranging from         Objectives of the Study

                                                                                     There are three objectives:

                                                                                        To consider policies for the delivery
                                                                                        of safe drinking water quality in
                                                                                        rural areas;

                                                                                        To provide a framework in which the
                                                                                        various functions associated with a
                                                                                        change of emphasis towards
                                                                                        managing risks to the safety of
                                                                                        drinking water can be incorporated
                                                                                        into existing institutional frame-
                                                                                        works, in particular building on the
                                                                                        initiatives already taken in India to
                                                                                        improve monitoring and surveillance
                                                                                        of drinking water quality; and

                                                                                        To suggest an approach to
                                                                                        demonstrate and implement such
                                                                                        a framework.

                                                                                                           Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                                           Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                                           Policy Issues and
                                                                                                           Institutional Arrangements

Key Policy Issues
The most important policy issue                               Establishing Roles                                  Planning Coordination: Plans
relates to the adoption of drinking                           and Responsibilities                                developed by GPs/VWSCs have
Water Safety Plans as the basis for                                                                               to be considered by the district
                                                              With the responsibility for service
managing drinking water quality.                                                                                  authorities through a periodic
                                                              delivery resting with the village Gram
This is discussed first; there are then                                                                           planning process, managed
                                                              Panchayats (GPs) together with Village
four other policy issues which emerge                                                                             at the district level for
                                                              Water and Sanitation Committees
from adopting such a framework,                                                                                   logistical considerations.
                                                              (VWSCs), they should be seen as the
the key one being roles and
                                                              pivotal organizations with the ‘higher’
responsibilities which is the main                                                                                The planning process is
                                                              levels of government, line departments,
content of this report.                                                                                           required to interpret
                                                              and training institutions providing
                                                                                                                  state policy in terms of
                                                              support. This can be illustrated by an
Adopting Drinking Water                                                                                           deliverables, provide planning
                                                              inverse pyramid of support as shown in
Safety Plans                                                                                                      templates and facilitate training
                                                              Figure 3. The individual functions are
                                                                                                                  and technical support, review and
Although sampling and analysis is                             discussed in detail in Section 4, and
                                                                                                                  approve village plans, integrate
important to verify the quality of                            Section 5 refers to appropriate
                                                                                                                  plans and manage convergence
drinking water, it is not an effective                        allocation of functions.
                                                                                                                  of different development
means of control especially for rural
                                                              Roles and responsibilities include two              programs, monitor progress on
supplies. In India, the Department of
                                                              functions considered critical in moving             implementation and operational
Drinking Water Supply (DDWS) has
                                                              from pilot demonstrations to a full                 performance, and provide reports
taken steps to establish and equip
                                                              program, namely planning coordination               to the state showing the impact on
district and sub-divisional water testing
                                                              and training:                                       service performance.3
laboratories. Nevertheless, collecting
samples in rural locations takes time
and microbiological tests involve the                             Figure 3: Inverse pyramid of support
slow process of ‘growing’ organisms
on a suitable medium. Therefore,                                                         Citizens and Households:
during the time period between                                                                Water Consumers
sampling and reporting results, which in
rural areas could be as long as a                                       GPs and VWSCs are responsible for providing water services
month, unsafe water could have been
consumed. The emphasis should,                                                         Blocks provide technical support
therefore, be on good operational
management with controls based on                                        Districts facilitate financing, training, technical support, and
risk assessment from source to mouth.                                       sampling and analysis to check drinking water quality
This involves the establishment of
                                                                                 Districts also lead on the planning function
drinking Water Safety Plans and
associated support being given to local                                                     States provide policies,
service providers for their development,                                                    financing, and training
operation, audit, and verification.
                                                                                     National government provides policy
                                                                                     guidance, standards, and financing
 For more details see the draft Handbook for District Water
and Sanitation Missions for Planning Coordination and
Convergence (DDWS and WSP, 2010).

                                                                                                         together with nonpipe methods
                                                                                                         provided by tankers and water
                                                                                                         vendors, and through self provision
                                                                                                         such as shallow tubewell
                                                                                                         handpumps. Some of the most
                                                                                                         important risks to drinking water
                                                                                                         safety arise from these alternative
                                                                                                         distribution systems and other
                                                                                                         deficiencies in the quantity of water
                                                                                                         supplied. Accordingly, the associated
                                                                                                         improvement programs provide a
                                                                                                         good basis for the identification of
                                                                                                         investment priorities covering both
                                                                                                         quantity and quality requirements,
                                                                                                         and should be built into the
                                                                                                         planning and investment
                                                                                                         decision-making processes.

                                                                                                         For more sophisticated piped water
                                                                                                         schemes, the Water Safety Plan can
                                                                                                         be combined with a technical/
                                                                                                         financial survey which is used to
                                                                                                         gather information on the condition
                                                                                                         of assets, true operating costs, and
                                                                                                         current performance. The information
                                                                                                         captured by the survey and the
     Training: Training and capacity                           Water Safety Plans as a                   Water Safety Plan then provides the
     building is critical for the                              Basis for Investment                      basis for preparing an Operating Plan
     development and implementation of                                                                   (key operating functions, proposed
                                                               The process of preparing drinking
     plans by GPs/VWSCs, and for the                                                                     staff and maintenance costs,
                                                               Water Safety Plans identifies problems
     planning process at the district level.                                                             estimated income, and estimated
                                                               due to either no control of specific
     These training/capacity building                                                                    surplus or deficit), and a Service
                                                               risks or inadequate controls. Some
     functions are discussed in outline in                                                               Improvement Plan (a summary of
                                                               improvements can be made quickly at
     this paper with details given in                                                                    improvement measures, proposed
                                                               little or no cost but others require a
     separate handbooks and                                                                              remedies, estimated costs, and initial
                                                               significant amount of investment.
     guidelines.4 Typically, planning                                                                    prioritization or timeframe for
                                                               Although improved operation of
     templates can provide the basis for                                                                 implementation). This information
                                                               existing controls will result in fewer
     training of trainer programs targeting                                                              also supports more effective
                                                               incidents of unsafe drinking water, it
     block-level facilitators who would then                                                             reporting and monitoring, including
                                                               can be expected that the main
     train village-level representatives.                                                                simple performance indicators.
                                                               improvements will arise from the
                                                               introduction of better controls.          Simple templates can be prepared in
 See the Handbook for Gram Panchayats (DDWS and
                                                                                                         the local language and used for
WSP, 2010), and the Training Manual for Village Water Safety   Drinking Water Safety Plans should        training technical and operational
Plans prepared for Sikkim (Rural Management and
Development Department [RMDD] and WSP, 2010).                  include all parts of water distribution   staff. Annex 2 provides a full list of

                                                                                      Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                      Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                      Policy Issues and
                                                                                      Institutional Arrangements

templates that have been developed         indication that the water is free of       Policies on Interventions
by WSP to support both village             coliforms. So, in simple operational
                                                                                      Drinking Water Safety Plans are likely to
planning and district planning             terms, a health-related target can be
                                                                                      identify the need for improvements at
coordination. Annex 3 provides a           translated to a performance target such
                                                                                      each stage of the supply chain, namely:
sample template for a Water                as minimum chlorine residual. This then
Safety Plan.                               becomes an action level in a Water              Better protection of sources;
                                           Safety Plan (Annex 1). Where data on
                                           incidents of diarrheal diseases are             Improved removal of contaminants
Setting Performance Targets to
                                           available, it may be possible to observe        whether microbiological or chemical;
Reflect Health Objectives
                                           the impact of continuously achieving
The WHO Guidelines (Figure 2) refer to                                                     Protection of distribution
                                           this action level through diligent
‘health-based targets’ with a view to                                                      systems; and
                                           operations.6 In India, the development
making interventions based on health       of improved water supplies at the               Prevention of contamination
determined benefits. The WHO               village level should be carried out in          in households.
framework shows health-based targets       partnership with the National Rural
as an input to drinking Water Safety       Health Mission (NRHM) to draw direct       Protection of sources: With a surface
Plans. It is known from a WHO study5       correlations between implementation        water source, this may require, if
that, in developing countries, the         of Water Safety Plans, water quality,      feasible, control over activities
benefits from investment in water and      and incidence of water borne or            (agricultural, industrial or recreational)
sanitation greatly exceed the costs, and   water-related diseases.                    within some boundary of a lake, stream
it is possible to set simple operational                                              or spring to prevent ingress of nutrients
targets which can be expected to           The establishment of targets and their     or contaminants. This could apply
achieve health improvements.               subsequent attainment provide a            equally to a well but in some cases that
                                           powerful means to support evidence-        may simply require adequate fencing to
In particular, it can be expected that     based decision-making. Elucidating         prevent access by animals. The
there is a relationship between the        operational, water quality, and health     requirement is good local knowledge
presence of E.coli in water, as an         improvements over a sustained period       coupled with some professional
indication of fecal contamination, and     of time provides a basis for strongly      guidance. Locally, measures for
diarrheal disease. The presence of a       advocating widespread implementation       rainwater harvesting and groundwater
chlorine residual in treated water is an   of Water Safety Plans.                     recharge, as well as advocacy for water
                                                                                      conservation, can be implemented
                                                                                      possibly in consultation with other
                                                                                      concerned departments, for example,
                                                                                      forestry. In India, the issue of arsenic
                                                                                      and fluoride contamination (as well as
                                                                                      iron, nitrate, and salinity) is given high
                                                                                      priority under the National Rural
                                                                                      Drinking Water Program (NRDWP) with

                                                                                         Hutton, G. and Haller, L., 2004. Costs and benefits of water
                                                                                       and sanitation improvements at the global level (Evaluation of
                                                                                       the). World Health Organization 2004, WHO/SDE/WSH/04.04.
                                                                                         For example, field visits to Pune, Maharashtra, where the
                                                                                       Health Department is responsible for water quality monitoring
                                                                                       and surveillance, found that officials were analyzing results to
                                                                                       correlate incidence of disease with water quality.

                                                                                                           the formal service providers regard
                                                                                                           the other distributors as an integral
                                                                                                           part of the water supply and develop
                                                                                                           control procedures with them.8 A key
                                                                                                           principle of water safety planning is
                                                                                                           to have multiple barriers; it is unlikely
                                                                                                           that just one remedy will prevent
                                                                                                           contamination but a combination of
                                                                                                           controls can minimize the risks of
                                                                                                           contamination. The establishment
                                                                                                           of a maintenance program that
                                                                                                           regularly checks on the condition
                                                                                                           and performance of piped networks
                                                                                                           and correlated maintenance
                                                                                                           requirements is critical to ensure
                                                                                                           that drinking water safety is
                                                                                                           not compromised.

                                                                                                           Prevention of contamination in
                                                                                                           households: This should be part of
                                                                                                           an awareness campaign covering
emphasis on finding alternative                                 present at levels above the existing       water, sanitation, and hygiene. In
sources, and conjunctive use of                                 national standards (which should be set    India, the Total Sanitation Campaign
alternative groundwater and surface                             according to WHO guideline values, but     (TSC), and in particular the
water sources.                                                  it should be noted that most of the        Community Led Total Sanitation
                                                                guideline values are based on a lifetime   (CLTS) approach, targets
Improved water treatment: Treatment                             of consumption with a large ‘factor of     community-level awareness raising
is required when it is not feasible in the                      safety’ so small exceedances have little   and behavior change to eliminate
short term to achieve full protection                           impact on health). WHO provides            open defecation and improve
through ‘catchment’ measures, or                                guidance on the effectiveness of the       hygiene practices. Water Safety
where a contaminant occurs naturally in                         most common treatment processes in         Plans, with emphasis on source to
the source, or as essential security on                         removing various substances.7              mouth preventive controls, provide a
microbiological quality of water.                                                                          very effective means of linking TSC/
Absolute priority should be given to                            Protection of distribution systems:        CLTS through water quality to
microbiological quality and to concerns                         Pipe systems are generally not at risk     improved operational management
over any chemicals occurring at toxic                           where there are continuous supplies,       for water supply. It is recommended
levels. Consideration should also be                            as the pressurized system prevents         that, where possible, water safety
given to other chemicals which are                              ingress. Where there are intermittent      planning be implemented in
                                                                supplies, checks should be made for        combination with CLTS activities.
  This is done on log-reduction basis (each treatment process
                                                                points of potential ingress of fecal       This should consider safe storage
is rated in terms of some value of log-reduction that it can
achieve). It is recommended that a guidance manual is
                                                                matter. Other distribution systems such    and handling of water and simple
prepared which could be used by those local engineers           as tankers and water vendors are more      remedial actions (such as boiling) in
supporting local service providers.
  An example is the case of water tankers in Ghana. Water       vulnerable and critically dependent        times when water safety may be
Tanker Service Guidelines. Public Utilities Regulatory
Commission (PURC), 2008.                                        upon the operators. It is suggested that   compromised in the household.

                                                                                      Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                      Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                      Policy Issues and
                                                                                      Institutional Arrangements

Functions to Support
Drinking Water Safety Planning
This report focuses on functions              Figure 4: Functions to support drinking water safety planning
related to drinking water quality
management although other aspects,
such as cost recovery policies which
affect sustainability of water services,
are critical in the delivery of safe
drinking water. However, it does
discuss the improvement planning
function since Water Safety Plans
highlight those areas where controls
of risks to drinking water safety are
inadequate, and improvement
programs need to be put in place.

The functions to be carried out in the
delivery of safe drinking water are
described here with discussion on the
knowledge and skills required to
undertake them (Figure 4).

Policy and Standards

NRDWP provides overall policy
guidance in India. The development of
drinking water quality standards
(BIS10500) is also a national function
(currently under the Drinking Water
Sectional Committee, FAD 25).
However, where there is significant        refined later in the light of local        can be set to reflect this objective. The
variability in water source conditions,    experience, are an early requirement.      results would need to be published as
it is states that should interpret         These are most appropriately               league tables to establish comparative
national standards appropriately and,      developed within existing state training   competition. Such an approach would
where necessary, set interim                                                          require effective audit procedures to
                                           institutions.9 There should also be some
standards to focus attention on those                                                 ensure level playing fields. As an
                                           means of sharing experience between
parameters most affecting health.
                                           and within states, for example, from       alternative to financial inducements,
States must take decisions on policy       exposure visits.                           there can be incentives through
approaches to the achievement of                                                      recognized schemes in which awards
drinking water quality standards,          States may wish to introduce incentive     are given at publicized ceremonies.10
including decisions on the use of          schemes with progress based on
drinking Water Safety Plans.               performance improvements being
                                                                                         For example, in Sikkim, the State Institute of Rural
Guidelines on the preparation of           rewarded. Water Safety Plans are            Development (SIRD) was already carrying out
                                                                                       training workshops related to water quality
drinking Water Safety Plans, based         concerned with improved operational         monitoring and surveillance, and sanitation as well
                                                                                       as training of GPs in their new responsibilities.
initially on experience elsewhere, and     management, and performance targets         10
                                                                                          As under the Nirmal Gram Puraskar for sanitation.

Establishing a Program                         for the preparation of the annual                       would support GPs/VWSCs. The
                                               reports. The districts would have to                    sequence in which GPs are supported
Having decided to implement a drinking
                                               decide which annual reports would be                    should be prioritized based on the
Water Safety Plan approach, there is a
                                               required by the GPs. An important                       results of surveys on delivered drinking
need for programs to be established
                                               initiative under way in India is the use of             water quality. However, consideration
which focus on systems of greatest
                                               geographic information system (GIS)                     will have to be given to whether trained
concern, and to determine investment
                                               mapping of sources including                            personnel are available.
priorities. In practice, improvement
                                               water quality.
programs are developed bottom-up
with village plans aggregated with                                                                     Baseline Surveys for Water Quality
                                               In a delegated system, states would
support from blocks into district plans.       wish to carry out periodic audits to                    Districts must collect and review data
It is recommended that there be a              check on progress and problems. The                     on drinking water available for the
periodic planning process, perhaps             basis for the audit would be the annual                 systems in their areas. If recent surveys
operating every five years, to provide         reports from the districts. The audit                   have been carried out, or if there are
for integrated decision–making within          could involve visits to districts to look at            reliable monitoring data, these can be
which there would be annual budgets.           records and to GPs on a random basis                    used as input to determine priorities for
Plans and budgets should be updated            to check whether the situation on the                   supporting GPs in the development of
annually. This programmatic approach           ground is truly reflected in the reports.               drinking Water Safety Plans, and in
aligns with NRDWP which provides
                                                                                                       reviewing the effectiveness of critical
financing, technical support, and
                                               District Planning Coordination                          controls. If recent data are not
training for village and district water
                                                                                                       available, or there are doubts about the
security planning. Financing is no             Working from national or state
                                               guidelines, it should be the                            reliability of available data, surveys
longer in the form of lumpy investments
                                               responsibility of districts to support                  should be instigated. These require
in schemes and works, but also
                                               programs for the preparation of                         sampling and analysis at competent
considers the need for ongoing
investment in O&M and refurbishment            drinking Water Safety Plans by GPs for                  (ideally accredited to national
of assets, together with monitoring,           their supply systems. Under NRDWP,                      standards) district or sub-divisional
reporting, and audit.                          it is anticipated that this would be                    water testing laboratories, and samples
                                               achieved under the District Water and                   should be collected by trained staff.
                                               Sanitation Mission (DWSM) through                       Analysis should include microbiological
Reporting and Audit
                                               Block Resource Centers (BRCs) which                     parameters and those chemicals
Annual reports are valuable as they
provide the state with a means of
assessing progress. It should be a                 District planning coordination
district function. The responsible district
should report on progress on:                      A critical role of the district is the planning coordination function, to interpret
(a) improvement programs; (b) drinking             state policy in terms of deliverables, provide planning templates and facilitate
Water Safety Plan preparation                      training and technical support, review and approve village plans, integrate
programs; (c) operation of drinking                plans and manage convergence of different development programs, monitor
Water Safety Plans, citing any                     progress on implementation and operational performance, and to provide
difficulties; and (d) drinking water quality       reports to the state showing the impact on service performance.
as measured in verification programs.
                                                   For more details see the draft Handbook for District Water and Sanitation Missions for Planning
The state would establish the data                 Coordination and Convergence (DDWS and WSP, 2010).
return formats and provide templates

                                                                                         Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                         Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                         Policy Issues and
                                                                                         Institutional Arrangements

known or suspected of being present at
levels of potential concern. The surveys
should be timed to take into account
seasonal factors and might require
sampling at different times of the year.


Training of trainers in the preparation of
drinking Water Safety Plans is required
for the block facilitators and other
support organizations. Subsequent
training of village-level operational staff
by facilitators would take place during
the preparation of drinking Water Safety
Plans itself and through learning by
doing. During that training, they will see
the significance of critical controls and
their roles in monitoring and management.

Training for facilitators could be
established within State Institutes of
Rural Development (SIRDs), or similar
institutions, and it could be integrated      updates, training programs should be       and other aspects of avoiding the
into training programs already in place       developed that support continuous          ingestion of pathogens. Awareness
on water quality testing and/or               education, for example, yearly refresher   ‘training’ can only take place at the
sanitation. The trainers in the institutes                                               village level. A lot of work has been
                                              courses. The content of training
would require assistance in preparing                                                    done in raising awareness, for example,
                                              programs should also reflect local
training programs from those with direct                                                 under TSC12 in India. A concerted
                                              circumstances, for example, using the
experience of drinking Water Safety                                                      program running alongside the
                                              outputs of water quality surveys and
Plans. Training of facilitators, using                                                   introduction of drinking Water Safety
                                              Water Safety Plan audits to better
examples of real systems, is                                                             Plans is recommended. One output
                                              target training activities to practical
recommended with break-out sessions                                                      from drinking Water Safety Plans
to work on examples.11                        needs. A formally accredited or
                                                                                         could be some focus on preventing
                                              certified training program may also help
                                                                                         contamination in the home,
Special attention is required for training    incentivize individuals to continuously    with preparation of awareness
on checks of control measures and             participate in training.                   leaflets particularly targeted at
whether they are failing, defining what                                                  women’s groups.
needs to be done immediately if an            Awareness Training
action limit is breached, and how it can
be verified that the reaction to a loss of    For successful local management of         11
                                                                                           Specifically, lessons can be taken from the experience of CLTS
                                                                                         workshops, which combine classroom work with field work.
a control has been successful.                water systems and, particularly for care   12
                                                                                           Total Sanitation Campaign, Department of Drinking Water
                                              in protecting water from contamination     Supply, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India.
                                                                                         ‘Total Sanitation Campaign is a comprehensive programme to
As water safety planning is an iterative      in homes, everyone needs to                ensure sanitation facilities in rural areas with broader goal to
                                                                                         eradicate the practice of open defecation.’
process, with periodic reviews and            understand the importance of hygiene       http://ddws.nic.in/tsc-nic/html/

                                                                                       the supply chain and a user to cover
                                                                                       point-of-use aspects. The team leader
                                                                                       should be local and capable of taking
                                                                                       ownership of the plan, and assistance
                                                                                       should be given by a trained facilitator
                                                                                       provided by the district. The facilitators
                                                                                       should be responsible for ensuring that
                                                                                       the drinking Water Safety Plans are
                                                                                       produced to the required format and
                                                                                       standard. It is important that the
                                                                                       documentation is simple, covering only
                                                                                       critical controls and who should be
                                                                                       responsible for monitoring what and
                                                                                       when, together with steps to take if a
                                                                                       control fails (operation reaction
                                                                                       procedures). A detailed Hazard Analysis
                                                                                       Critical Control Point (HACCP) type
                                                                                       documentation as used in developed
                                                                                       countries for urban systems is
                                                                                       unnecessary and undesirable. A
                                                                                       sample Water Safety Plan with typical
                                                                                       risks and remedies, suitable for basic
                                                                                       piped water supplies in rural India, is
                                                                                       provided in Annex 3.
Management of Water                         Preparing a Water Safety Plan
Supply Systems                                                                         Preparing an Operating Plan
                                            The preparation of drinking Water
With a policy of devolution,                Safety Plans is not rocket science, but    A drinking Water Safety Plan generally
responsibility for the management and       it does require a disciplined approach     consists of two parts: a risk
operation of water supply systems will      (Annex 1). Teams need to be formed         assessment plan and a management
be the responsibility of GPs or their       with personnel covering all aspects of a   plan. Specimen tables are included
VWSCs. The introduction of drinking         water supply system from source to         in Annex 1.
Water Safety Plans provides on-the-job      mouth. For simple single well systems,
training in the operation of the systems.   this may involve only the person              The risk assessment plan defines
In particular, the process of developing    responsible for maintaining the well          the critical controls, and sets target
Water Safety Plans, Operating Plans,        and a user. In such cases, it is              and action levels. The critical
and Service Improvement Plans               recommended that a generic drinking           controls can be means of preventing
provides the opportunity to help train      Water Safety Plan approach is taken           contamination of the source,
managers on issues of planning,             with the plan adjusted for each system        treatment to remove contaminants,
investment, financial management, and       to reflect local circumstances. For           operations to prevent ingress of
monitoring and reporting.13                 systems which use surface water, and          contaminants into the distribution
                                            involve treatment and a distribution          system, or means to prevent
   See the Handbook for Gram Panchayats
                                            system, there needs to be a team              contamination in the household.
(DDWS and WSP, 2010).                       including someone from each part of           Target levels are usually the

                                                                                        Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                        Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                        Policy Issues and
                                                                                        Institutional Arrangements

   attainment of some standard. Action       to be taken on operational recording of    community-based organization (CBO).
   levels are the levels set which, when     actions. If a treatment works is           Initially, the frequency of checks could
   exceeded, indicate that some              involved, the operator may need to tick    be weekly, with less frequent checks if
   action must be taken immediately          a box daily giving the time of the check   the system is being operated reliably.
   to prevent or mitigate against loss       to confirm that the operation of a
   of control. Some action limits            chlorinator has been checked. It is a      Verification of Drinking
   are quantitative, others are              good discipline to have some means of      Water Quality
   qualitative; and                          recording even the simple checks, and
                                                                                        The principle behind the use of drinking
   The management plan identifies            it is important for audit trails.
                                                                                        Water Safety Plans to control drinking
   monitoring requirements under the                                                    water quality is that end-of-pipe testing
   headings of what, when and who,           Checking the Operation of                  is insufficient by itself (by the time
   and sets down the required                Drinking Water Safety Plans                analysis results have been obtained
   operational actions to be taken                                                      from a laboratory, it is too late because if
                                             This is a GP management function and
   if an action level has been                                                          that water contained pathogens the
                                             involves checking that the critical
   exceeded. Monitoring can be quite                                                    consumers will already be sick).
                                             controls are being monitored effectively
   simple, for example, for a single well,                                              On-the-spot analysis using field kits
                                             and that the specified actions have
   daily checks that animals are not                                                    provides for better protection,
                                             been taken if an action level has been
   getting access where they can                                                        particularly if an indicator can be
                                             exceeded. For example, was
   cause contamination.                                                                 measured instantaneously, for example,
                                             chlorination checked at the required
                                             frequency and, if there was a failure of   turbidity. However, even then, it is not
Each monitoring and action response
                                             chlorination, were villagers advised to    practical to take measurements
needs to be incorporated into
                                             boil water for drinking? The function      sufficiently frequently to achieve
operational procedures with each
                                             should be carried out by someone or        complete protection. Also, as the kits
individual involved being given
                                                                                        provide less accurate results than
clear instructions on his or her             some village organization not directly
                                                                                        laboratory testing, samples need to be
responsibilities, and provided with          involved in the operation of the system.
                                                                                        sent to a laboratory periodically to check
training as necessary. Decisions need        This could be a VWSC, or a
                                                                                        that the operational controls are
                                                                                        working. The frequency of checks
                                                                                        should be established on the likely
                                                                                        variability of the quality of the delivered
                                                                                        water, which is often influenced by
                                                                                        changes in the quality of the source
                                                                                        water due to seasonal or other factors.

                                                                                        It is important that test results are
                                                                                        reported correctly so that GPs or
                                                                                        VWSCs can respond appropriately. Also
                                                                                        NRHM representatives need to be
                                                                                        informed and correlations with incidence
                                                                                        of water borne or water-related diseases
                                                                                        made. This analysis will help to verify
                                                                                        that Water Safety Plans are having a real
                                                                                        impact on public health outcomes.

Assigning Roles and Responsibilities
In Section 4, there was discussion on                 on current discussions concerning             Table 1 could be used by states to map
functions to support water safety                     NRDWP, and the roles and responsibilities     out their approaches to incorporating
planning. Table 1 indicates some                      of GPs, blocks, and districts. Actual         drinking water safety planning in their
suggestions for states in India. It is based          assignment would vary state by state but      existing institutional structures.

   Table Functions and and which organizations them in India
   Table 1: 1: Functionswhich organizations might handle might handle them in India

   Functions                                                            Organization Level                                Comments

                                       National        State        District    Block    GP/    State       CBO/   NGO/
                                                                                         VWSC   Training    SHG    SO
   Overall policy guidelines,                                                                                            As per NRDWP
   and standards                                                                                                          and BIS10500
   Policies and programs                                                                                                 State policy including
                                                                                                                          adoption of DWSPs
   Incentive schemes                                                                                                   e.g., Sajal Gram Puraskar
   Annual reporting on                                                                                                   DWSMs
   management of drinking
   water quality
   Audit by states                                                                                                      NGOs could be
                                                                                                                          given a role here
   Planning coordination                                                                                                 Management of
   of DWSPs                                                                                                               programs by DWSMs
   Establishing current                                                                                                 District and sub-
   state of source water                                                                                                  divisional Iaboratories;
   and delivered water                                                                                                    BRCs should support
   as input to DWSPs
   Training                                                                                                            SIRD, BRC, NGOs,
                                                                                                                          and other SOs
   Training on checks on                                                                                         
   operation of DWSPs
   Quality and health                                                                                            
   awareness training
   Management of water                                                                                                    GPs/VWSCs
   supply systems                                                                                                        should contract a
                                                                                                                          trained operator
   DWSP preparation                                                                                                    BRCs support GPs/VWSCs
   Conversion of DWSPs                                                                                                 This can also be the basis
   into operational procedures                                                                                            for operator contracts
   Checking operation                                                                                                   Day-to-day checks on
   of DWSPs                                                                                                               operational controls—does
                                                                                                                          not involve analysis
   Verification of                                                                                                      District and sub-divisional
   drinking water quality                                                                                                 laboratories
   Note: For DWSP read Drinking Water Safety Plans; SHG: self help group.

                                                                                                       Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                                       Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                                       Policy Issues and
                                                                                                       Institutional Arrangements

Available Knowledge and Experience
There is extensive information on the
WHO and the International Water
Association (IWA) websites including
manuals providing step-by-step
guidance and a road map to support
country-level implementation.14
However, it is experience based largely
on developed world urban situations
with strong emphasis on the use of
HACCP systems. Rural situations do
not require such a detailed approach,
which could discourage some from the
use of drinking Water Safety Plans. It is
recommended that attention is given to
those case studies which demonstrate
a simple practical approach that can
be applied by nonprofessionals in
day-to-day operations. Some valuable
guidance is provided by some generic
drinking Water Safety Plans developed
by ITN in Bangladesh for four common
water system types used in rural areas,
namely, rainwater harvesting, tubewells,
dugwells, and pond sand filters. These
examples can be downloaded from the
ITN website: www.buet.ac.bd/itn.

To complement this existing body of
work, WSP’s work as presented in this
report has focused on rural piped
schemes from simple gravity schemes
for a few houses to sophisticated bulk
supply for multivillage schemes. Sample
templates and training guidelines have
been developed for this purpose, and
these have been adopted under the
NRDWP’s Handbook for Gram
Panchayats. The list of templates is                         The aim should be to focus on critical    control fails. This simple approach is
included in this report in Annex 2.                          controls for delivering safe drinking     illustrated by two tables included in
                                                             water and convert those into              Annex 1 to record the information
                                                             operational procedures, train the local   from the risk assessment aspect
   Think Big, Start Small, Scale Up: A Road Map to Support   operators in monitoring the controls,     and what that means for monitoring
Country Level Implementation of Water Safety Plans. WHO
and IWA, 2010.                                               and taking predetermined actions if a     and action.

A Suggested Approach to
Demonstration and Implementation
A Pilot Demonstration in [xxx]                                  SIRD to train the Barefoot                 This district-level training would be
Gram Panchayats in [xxx] Districts                              Engineer and VWSC in how to                carried out by SIRD using training
                                                                ‘prepare a drinking Water Safety           materials prepared with WSP;
It is suggested that a demonstration
                                                                Plan’. They would also be supported
project is established to test out the                                                                     The drinking Water Safety Plans will
                                                                by the Field Facilitator and block-level
proposed approach quickly and                                                                              also highlight the need for
                                                                engineers (Rural Management and
amend it as necessary to provide                                                                           investment in better controls.
                                                                Development Department—RMDD)
states with the benefits of that                                                                           Investment proposals (Service
                                                                and health workers who would be
experience. To make rapid progress,                                                                        Improvement Plans) would be
                                                                included in the training. This would be
the pilot should be run in a district                                                                      prepared for consideration by the
                                                                partly in a classroom on basics but
where there is good data on drinking                                                                       district for funding under
                                                                largely through the development of a
water quality, good communications,                                                                        Accelerated Rural Water Supply
                                                                drinking Water Safety Plan in the GPs;
effective training systems are already                                                                     and Rural Water Supply and
in place, and strong leadership from an                         The training workshops (either one in      Sanitation programs or other
individual involved in the water supply                         each district, or two for South/West       sources of funds, for example,
system. A sample proposal that                                  and North/East) would be linked to         departmental grants in aid, incentive
was implemented successfully in                                 CLTS to include ‘awareness training’       funds, user fees, etc;
Sikkim during 2007–09 is given                                  on how to relate a hazard to potential
                                                                illness in the community, and to           Additional training would be carried
below, which can be adapted to
                                                                include issues of fecal contamination      out for the Barefoot Engineer and
the situation in districts in the
                                                                and hygiene;                               Field Facilitators in the use of field
different states.15
                                                                                                           test kits for ‘water quality testing.’ A
                                                                                                           baseline survey of water quality
Water Safety Plans and                                                                                     would be carried out in each of the
Service Improvement Plans                                                                                  demonstration pilot GPs. In addition,
1. The establishment of Water Safety                                                                       as needed, tests would be
   Plans involves a risk assessment                                                                        carried out at the district/state
   from source to mouth, and the                                                                           referral laboratories;
   identification of critical controls for                                                                 The process of verification of
   managing those risks to achieve                                                                         drinking water quality by sampling
   consistently safe drinking water.
                                                                                                           and analysis would be introduced at
2. The key activities of the proposed                                                                      a frequency determined initially by
   study are:                                                                                              checking confidence in the
                                                                                                           effectiveness of the controls, and
      To choose EIGHT poverty
                                                                                                           later to take into account likely
      affected GPs (Kamling and
      Chisupani would be included
      from West and South Sikkim),                              Ensuring good safe drinking water in Sikkim
      TWO each from the FOUR
      districts to take part in the                             In Sikkim, the government has introduced a comprehensive drinking water
      demonstration pilot project;                              and sanitation program that includes CLTS to achieve open defecation free
                                                                villages, village drinking Water Safety Plans to ensure potable water,
                                                                and a Springs-shed Development Program (Dhara Vikash) to ensure
  Village Water Safety Planning Training Manual (RMDD, Sikkim   source sustainability.
and WSP, 2010).

                                                                                        Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                        Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                        Policy Issues and
                                                                                        Institutional Arrangements

concerns due to seasonal or
other factors;

The GP/VWSC would be given
additional training in ‘managing the
water supply system,’ which can
include preparation of simple service
agreements for those responsible for
operating the water supply system,
as well as the GP/VWSC’s
obligations related to funding;

The VWSC and block engineers
(RMDD) and Field Facilitator, or
others as decided by the district,
would be trained in how to ‘monitor
controls’ of the drinking Water
Safety Plans in practice and a
frequency of monitoring would be
established; and

A process of ‘audit and reporting’
would be established, which could
involve: (i) the GP reporting to the
                                            to all systems. The main objective              Water Safety Plans operating in eight
district for purposes of planning
                                            would be to: (i) showcase the                   GPs in all four districts;
coordination and management of
                                            demonstration pilots of drinking
funding; (ii) Village Social Audit                                                          Agreement on the institutional
                                            Water Safety Plans; (ii) to establish
Committees to verify user                                                                   framework (roles and responsibilities)
                                            roles and responsibilities to
satisfaction; (iii) one GP auditing                                                         to operationalize the approach;
                                            operationalize the approach across
another GP on implementation of
                                            the district/state including the training       Demonstration of an integrated
Water Safety Plans; and (iv) a
                                            programs; and (iii) showcasing how              operational management, and water
separate department, for example,
                                            the bottom-up investment proposals              sampling and analysis approach to
the Department of Economics,
                                            related to improving the critical               drinking water quality;
Statistics, Monitoring and Evaluation
                                            controls of drinking water quality
(DESME), carrying out spot checks                                                           Realignment of financing for
                                            might be handled by the district
to verify results in terms of effective                                                     planning and investment based on
                                            ‘planning coordinator,’ including the
water safety planning by villages and                                                       service improvement priorities;
                                            process of funding.
investment by GPs/district.
                                                                                            Training material and a training plan
In addition to the training               Outputs from the Study                            for Water Safety Plan facilitators
workshops, district-level workshops                                                         and auditors; and
                                          The main outputs would be:
and later state-level workshops
would be organized to establish the         Demonstration of the water safety               Articulation of the role of a district
process of extending the approach           planning approach, including drinking           planning coordinator.

Annex 1
Development of Drinking Water Safety Plans
Process                                                          operation of the village system but the choice can
                                                                 depend upon circumstances, and on the availability of
In essence, the development and implementation of a
                                                                 key individuals.
drinking Water Safety Plan involves:
                                                                 A good starting point for the team is an initiation workshop/
   Determining the supply system to be covered;
                                                                 meeting facilitated by someone with experience in the
   Formation of a team covering the entire supply chain from     process of producing drinking Water Safety Plans. A
   source to mouth, to carry out a risk assessment;              workshop provides the opportunity for the team members to
                                                                 get to know each other, and to understand each other’s
   Review and development of controls to manage the              challenges. It is desirable to invite others for there to be
   identified risks;                                             management involvement, perhaps from a VWSC, to ensure
                                                                 a commitment to implementation. At this stage, it is
   Establishment of target and action limits for each control    important to assemble all available information on the
   with associated reaction plans; and                           system under study including recent water quality surveys,
                                                                 and to identify deficiencies in any of the information.
   Incorporation of the controls into operational procedures.
                                                                 One output from the workshop should be an agreed
Starting Points                                                  timetable for the project, with a firm date for the completion
                                                                 of the first (risk assessment) stage. This first workshop/
The first step is to identify the system to be covered in one
                                                                 meeting could also be used to prepare a rough map of the
plan. The boundaries of a system can depend upon the
                                                                 water supply system, with any inputs the community feels
source, the area supplied by a treatment works, or the
                                                                 are important regarding water quality or investments.
system supplying a defined distribution system. The choice
can be for convenience, or because a particular supply
                                                                 Risk Assessment
system is susceptible to some risks of known concern, or
to reflect a team’s responsibilities. For rural supplies, a      The risk assessment involves each member of the team
source could be an aquifer, a pond, a stream, or a               identifying the hazards to the safety of drinking water in his
rainwater harvesting scheme, or it could be part of a            or her part of the supply chain. Hazards can be from a
multivillage scheme.                                             number of sources, including pollution of sources or system
                                                                 failure. Consideration has to be given to the likelihood of a
Based on the choice and definition of the system being
                                                                 hazard presenting a real risk and its severity if it occurs. The
covered, a project team is formed. The team should include
                                                                 WHO Guidelines provide a simple scoring system (Table A1)
members from each organization in the supply chain
                                                                 to assist in identifying the relative importance of risks. Such
covering the water source, water treatment, water
                                                                 a simple system should be used only as a guide, as the
distribution and, if possible, consumers’ premises. This may
                                                                 main risks may be fairly obvious in a rural system, and it may
involve key people from a number of different organizations,
                                                                 not be necessary to adopt such a scoring system. If it is
or it could involve only one or two people responsible for
                                                                 used, the risk-scoring table provides the following definitions
source and distribution in a village well system. Where there
                                                                 that are useful but again they should be regarded only as
are significant informal distribution systems, for example,
                                                                 giving some guidance and not used prescriptively:
tankers and water vendors, provision should be made for
their representatives to either be included in the team or for   Almost certain—once a day
those systems to be considered separately. The team leader
is most likely to be the key person responsible for the          Likely—once a week

                                                                                                  Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                                  Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                                  Policy Issues and
                                                                                                  Institutional Arrangements

    Table A1: WHO suggested risk scoring

                                                                      Severity of consequences

   Likelihood                           Insignificant             Minor             Moderate               Major             Catastrophic
   Almost certain                       5                         10                15                     20                25
   Likely                               4                         8                 12                     16                20
   Moderate                             3                         6                 9                      12                16
   Unlikely                             2                         4                 6                      8                 10
   Rare                                 1                         2                 3                      4                 5

   Source: Water Safety Plans, World Health Organization, 2005.

Moderate—once a month                                                       working? Have there been incidents where the controls
                                                                            have been inadequate? What preventative measures could
Unlikely—once a year                                                        be taken to reduce the risk? The analysis of control
                                                                            measures is likely to identify some priorities for improvement
Rare—once every five years
                                                                            which can be acted on at this early stage, thus giving some
Catastrophic—potentially lethal to                                          early benefit for the work done on the project. Other
a large population                                                          improvements requiring investment will take longer.
                                                                            Although the control improvements will reduce the
Major—potentially lethal to a                                               likelihood of an incident taking place, they will not change
small population                                                            the consequences should it do so.

Moderate—potentially harmful to a
                                                                            Setting Target and Action Limits
large population
                                                                            The next step is to set both target levels and action limits
Minor—potentially harmful to a                                              for each of the controls, and to record the designated
small population                                                            reaction measures, should an action limit be breached. The
                                                                            target levels on controls at a treatment works are likely to
Insignificant—no impact or
                                                                            include the drinking water quality standards at which, in
not detectable
                                                                            general, noncompliance can be dealt with under routine
                                                                            conditions. An action level should be set at a figure at which
Each hazard and its risk assessment need to be recorded,
                                                                            immediate action needs to be taken. At the beginning of the
together with any supporting information. Table A2 is an
                                                                            supply chain and at the source end, some of the target
example of a recording system.
                                                                            levels are likely to be more subjective and could require
                                                                            longer timescales for achievement. Monitoring against the
Reviewing the Controls and
                                                                            limits is critical, and it is necessary to define what is being
Priorities for Improvement
                                                                            measured, when (frequency), and by whom. The other
Once the risk assessment has been completed, each                           necessary component is a means of verifying that the
member of the team needs to review the controls in place to                 corrective action has worked. The outcome of this work
counter each risk. Is there evidence that the controls are                  can be recorded as in Table A3.

      Table A2: Table for recording risk assessment information

  Part of        Source        Hazard         Preventative     Likelihood    Severity       Risk     Downstream    Comments
  supply         cause                        and control                                            controls      and further
  chain                                       measures                                                             considerations

      Table A3: Record of action limits, monitoring, and corrective actions

 Hazard           Control             Critical Limits                          Monitoring                  Reaction      Verification
                               Target level     Action level       What        When                Who

Operational Procedures                                                 drink. Although the kits can give both false positives and false
                                                                       negatives, with experience in their use, they add to the armory
The above provisions should be converted into operational
                                                                       in achieving safe water supplies. If a test indicates
procedures, then operators should be trained in the new or
revised procedures. The management responsible for each                contaminated water, the VWSC can request a laboratory
part of the supply chain should establish a means of                   analysis and, at the same time, both review the operation of
checking that the procedures and training do result in an              the relevant control and, if appropriate, advise people to boil
effective system for the supply of safe drinking water supply.         water for drinking.

Checking that the Controls are Working                                 Verification
The first stage is for the GP/VWSC, depending upon the                 The ultimate check that the controls are working is laboratory
circumstances, to carry out daily or weekly checks that the            sampling and analysis. This should be carried out consistently
‘operator’ is following the operating procedures. This will            at a predetermined frequency.
involve inspections of the critical controls and of records kept
by the operator on his or her monitoring. Importantly, this will       References
include whether the operator took the specified actions if an          Village Water Safety Planning Training Manual (RMDD, Sikkim
action level was breached. These checks are the most
                                                                       and WSP, 2010); Handbook for Gram Panchayats to Help Them
important as they ensure that the main line of defense is
                                                                       Plan, Implement, Operate, Maintain and Manage Drinking Water
secure in providing safe drinking water.
                                                                       Security (DDWS and WSP, 2010); and draft Handbook for
The VWSC may also establish a routine of using field test              District Water and Sanitation Missions for Planning Coordination
kits as a quick means to check that the water is safe to               and Convergence (DDWS and WSP, 2010).

                                                                              Water Safety Plans for
                                                                              Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                              Policy Issues and
                                                                              Institutional Arrangements

Annex 2
List of Planning Templates
Various planning templates have been developed by WSP to support DDWS implement NRDWP.

Village Drinking Water Security Planning:

   Technical and financial survey

   Water Source Plan

   Water Safety Plan

   Operating Plan

   Service Improvement Plan

   Performance indicators

District Planning Coordination:

   Memorandum of Understanding between DWSM/BRC/VWSC

   Timetable for submission of planning applications

   Assessment sheet for each GP Plan

   District Investment Plan

   GP Annual Progress Report

   DWSM Annual Report

Annex 3
Water Safety Plan Sample Template
Name of the GP, Village, Ward, Habitation, and Scheme:                                                      Date:


  Risk                       Control measure        Who does it?       Who checks                 Action if control fails
                                                                       it is done?
                                                                                         What to do?                Who does it?

   • Livestock encroach      • Fencing              • Handpump          • VWSC           • Contact                  • VWSC
     on the well                                      caretaker                            mechanic or
                             • Raise and repair                         • Community        contractor for
   • Surface drainage          the apron            • Mechanic                             maintenance
     getting into the well                                                                 and repair
                             • Improve drainage     • Contractors
   • Apron is muddy and                                                                  • Disinfect
     poorly drained          • Ensure clean
                                                                                           household water
                               storage containers
   • Latrines are close to                                                               • Sampling
     the well                • Relocate latrines
                                                                                           and analysis

  Piped water supply—Source

  Risk                       Control measure        Who does it?       Who checks                 Action if control fails
                                                                       it is done?
                                                                                         What to do?                Who does it?

  • Animal feces             • Fencing              • Contract        • Panchayat        • Clean up                 • Barefoot
                                                      laborers          Inspector          and repair                 Engineer and/or
  • Garbage                  • Public                                   with help                                     private fitter
                               awareness,           • Barefoot          from Forest      • Disinfect
  • Livestock effluents        IEC—                   Engineer and/or                      household water          • ASHA (VWSC)
                                                                        Guard and
                               signboards             private fitter,   Barefoot           using electro-
                                                      SHG,                                 chlorinator              • NGOs
                             • Effluent pathway       community         and/or
                               should be              labor                              • H2S vial test
                                                                        private fitter
                                                    • VWSC with         • VWSC
                                                      support from
                                                      NGOs and          • Community

                                                                                             Water Safety Plans for
                                                                                             Rural Water Supply in India:
                                                                                             Policy Issues and
                                                                                             Institutional Arrangements

Name of the GP, Village, Ward, Habitation, and Scheme:                                                       Date:

  Piped water supply—Treatment system and sedimentation tank

  Risk                    Control measure        Who does it?        Who checks                     Action if control fails
                                                                     it is done?
                                                                                           What to do?                Who does it?

  • Chemical or           • Check efficacy       • Operator          • VWSC                • Short term               • VWSC to
    bacteriological         of existing                                                      alternative supply         organize
                                                 • Contractor
    contamination           treatment system
                                                                                           • Correct problem
                          • Add new
                                                                                           • Build new
                            treatment system
                                                                                             treatment system

  • Animal feces          • Install tank cover   • Contractor        • Panchayat           • Clean up                 • Barefoot
                                                                       Inspector with                                   Engineer and/or
  • Garbage               • Public awareness/    • Junior                                  • Disinfect household
                                                                       help from                                        private fitter
                            IEC signboards         Engineer                                  water using
  • Poor design                                                                              electro-chlorinator      • Contractor
                          • Clean tank           • VWSC with           Engineer and/
  • Tank damaged                                   support             or private fitter   • H2S vial test            • Junior Engineer
                          • Regular check up
    or leaking                                     from NGOs
                            on water flow and                        • VWSC                • Repair cover             • VWSC with
                            filter material                                                                             support from
                                                                     • Community           • Repair signboards
                                                                                           • Repair tank

  Piped water supply—Storage tank

  Risk                    Control measure        Who does it?        Who checks                     Action if control fails
                                                                     it is done?
                                                                                           What to do?                Who does it?

  • Animal feces          • Install tank cover   • Contractor      • Panchayat             • Clean up                 • Barefoot
                          • Public awareness/                        Inspector                                          Engineer and/or
  • Garbage                                      • Junior Engineer                         • Disinfect
                            IEC signboards                           with help                                          private fitter
  • Bathing and laundry                          • VWSC with                                 household water
                                                                     from                    using electro-           • Contractor
                          • Clean tank             support from
  • Tank damaged                                                     Barefoot                chlorinator
                          • Regular check up       NGOs                                                               • Junior Engineer
    or leaking                                                       Engineer
                            on tank condition    • Barefoot                                • H2S vial test            • VWSC with
  • Private pipelines                                                and/or
                          • Explore options to     Engineer/         private fitter        • Repair cover               support from
    connected at tank
                            disconnect private     private fitter                                                       NGOs
                                                                   • VWSC                  • Repair
                                                                     • Community
                                                                                           • Repair tank

Name of the GP, Village, Ward, Habitation, and Scheme:                                                                        Date:

   Piped water supply—Distribution pipeline

   Risk                         Control measure             Who?                   Who monitors?                     Action if control fails

                                                                                                            What?                     Who?

   • Animal feces              • Public                     • Barefoot        • Panchayat                   • Clean up                • ASHA (VWSC)
                                 awareness/IEC                Engineer/         Inspector with              • Disinfect
   • Garbage                                                                                                                          • Barefoot
                               • Regular check up             private fitter    help from                     household water
   • Effluents                                                                                                                          Engineer and/or
                                 on pipes                                       Barefoot                      using electro-
                                                            • Contractor                                                                private fitter
   • Poorly laid pipelines                                                      Engineer                      chlorinator
     in public footpaths                                    • Junior Engineer   and/or                                                • Contractor
                                                                                private fitter              • H2S vial test
     or drains                                              • VWSC with                                                               • Junior Engineer
                                                              support from    • VWSC                        • Realignment
   • Leaking pipes                                                                                                                    • VWSC with
                                                              NGOs                                            of pipelines
                                                                              • Community                                               support from
                                                                                                            • Repair of                 NGOs
                                                                                                              leaking pipes

   Household storage and personal hygiene

   Risk                         Control measure             Who?                   Who monitors?                     Action if control fails

                                                                                                            What?                     Who?

   • Unclean storage            • Public                    • ASHA (VWSC)           • VWSC                  • Disinfect               • ASHA (VWSC)
     container                    awareness/IEC                                                               household water
                                                            • NGOs                  • Sanitary                                        • NGOs
                                                                                                              using electro-
   • Absence of lid on          • Point-of-use                                        Inspector
                                                            • Teachers                                        chlorinator
     storage container            treatment
                                                            • Health workers                                • H2S vial test
   • No ladle to
     remove water                                           • Anganwadi

   • No hand washing            • Public                    • ASHA (VWSC)           • VWSC                  • Disinfect               • ASHA (VWSC)
     with soap                    awareness/IEC                                                               household water
                                                            • NGOs                  • Sanitary                                        • NGOs
                                                                                                              using electro-
   • Uncut nails                • Empower                                             Inspector
                                                            • Teachers                                        chlorinator
                                  women groups
                                  to advocate               • Health workers                                • H2S vial test
                                  personal hygiene
                                                            • Anganwadi

ASHA: Accredited Social Health Activist; IEC: Information, Education, and Communication; H2S: hydrogen sulphide.

Water Safety Plans for
Rural Water Supply in India:
Policy Issues and
Institutional Arrangements
  Water and Sanitation Program
  World Bank
  55 Lodi Estate
  New Delhi 110 003
  Phone: (91–11) 24690488, 24690489
  Fax: (91–11) 24628250
  E-mail: wspsa@worldbank.org
  Web site: www.wsp.org

November 2010

WSP’s mission is to support poor people in
obtaining affordable, safe, and sustainable access
to water and sanitation services.

The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) is a
multi-donor partnership created in 1978 and
administered by the World Bank to support poor
people in obtaining affordable, safe, and
sustainable access to water and sanitation
services. WSP provides technical assistance,
facilitates knowledge exchange, and promotes
evidence-based advancements in sector dialog.
WSP has offices in 25 countries across Africa, East
Asia and the Pacific, Latin America and the
Caribbean, South Asia, and in Washington, DC.
WSP’s donors include Australia, Austria, Canada,
Denmark, Finland, France, the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation, Ireland, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United
Kingdom, United States, and the World Bank. For
more information, please visit www.wsp.org.

AusAID provides WSP programmatic support.

Michael Rouse, Nicholas Pilgrim, and Amit Nair

Nicholas Pilgrim

Tom Williams and Mark Ellery

Edited by: Ananda Swaroop
Photographs by: Nicholas Pilgrim and Amit Nair
Created by: Write Media
Printed by: Vashima Printers

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