Main authors: Cors van den Brink, Sarah Zernitz, Alma de Vries
Editor: Jane Brandt
Source document: »van den Brink, C. et al. (2021) Lessons Learned and Recommendations for Water Safety Plans. FAIRWAY Project Deliverable 2.4, 97 pp


One of FAIRWAY's research topics is Water Safety Planning for adequate drinking water protection for small and large supplies. Our aim is to stimulate the improvement of drinking water safety across the European Union by sharing context, best practices and lessons learned on Water Safety Planning for both small and large water supplies (see »Lessons learned and recommendations for Water Safety Plans).

Data and information was collected from the Vansjø case study and used as described here.

Contents table
1. Survey of case studies
2. Key lessons learned

1. Survey of case studies

All 13 FAIRWAY case studies were surveyed to see whether or not a Water Safety Plan (WSP), or equivalent, is in place within their area (see »Approach and methodology).

Vansjø does have a Water Safety Plan in place.

Further questions were asked to distill more details on the WSP approach: on the register of water supplies, risk assessment/risk management (RA/RM), communication and awareness, and stakeholder roles and responsibilities (see »Lessons learned and recommendations)

Vansjø case study provided the following information about the local Water Safety Plan.

1.1 How is Water Safety Planning (RA/RM) organised in the case study country (regulations and responsibilities)? And are there differences in how this is organized for (very) small and large supplies?

National regulation: The drinking water regulation "Forskrift om vannforsyning og drikkevann" of 2017 implements the Drinking Water Directive (98/83/EF) and is intended to follow the main principles of water safety plans. The regulation applies to all drinking water supplies, but there are less detailed requirements for very small water supply systems (<10 m³).

Responsibilities: Register of drinking water supplies - Norwegian Food Safety Authority (NFSA). Water suppliers provide info through online-form to NFSA. Data transferred to Waterworks Register (Norwegian Institue of Public Health). RA/RM - water supply company.

1.2 How is the risk assessment and risk management executed? Are there differences in how RA/RM is carried out for (very) small and large supplies?

Guidance document on RA/RM is available.

The methodology for risk mapping is optional. There is however a guiding document on increased security and response in the water supply ("Økt sikkerhet og beredskap i vannforsyningen") which provides a suggested framework in line with the Norwegian standard NS-EN 15975-2 (Security of drinking water supply - Guidelines for risk and crisis management - Part 2: Risk management).

If the water supply chooses a risk-based approach to provide fewer samples than the minimum requirement, NS-EN 15975-2 or an equivalent method has to be applied.

The emergency response plan is required to comply with the regulation on emergency response planning ("Forskrift om krav til beredskapsplanlegging og beredskapsarbeid, mv.") which applies the methodology for risk and vulnerability assessments (ROS-analyse).

The Water Safety Plan for Vansjø/MOVAR consists of two parts. Part A identifies the risks: it describes the water supply system, identifies the vulnerable users, identifies risks, and lists incidents. Part B assesses the risks on the basis of criteria on probability and consequences. Furthermore it assesses the measures.

For small supplies: Online guidance is provided on drinking water from wells.

1.3 How are stakeholders involved in Water Safety Planning (RA/RM)? (How) does this contribute to increased protection or support for measures? Are there differences between (very) small and large supplies?  

In process of identifying vulnerable users, municipal doctor and regional branches of the NFSA can be involved. Water company - owns the assessments, the emergency response plan and emergency response in itself. Municipalities that own the drinking water company - client and affected. Other water works - support/cooperation. The National Food Safety Authority - authority and guide.

2. Key lessons learned

Key lessons learned from Vansjø and all case studies are that

  1. Engagement of stakeholders is essential during all phases of RA/RM / Water Safety Planning.
  2. The designation of a process owner helps in bringing together departments and stakeholders, spreading information throughout organizations and providing congruence between different RA/RM systems.
  3. An agreed upon methodology and content enhances the effectiveness of Water Safety Planning and cooperation and communication between those involved.


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