By Abhishek Dutta
A Water Safety Plan (WSP) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that encompasses all steps in water supply from catchment to consumer” to ensure safe
It is described in the WHO’s Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ) as the “most effective means of consistently ensuring the safety of drinking water supply.” It is implemented as a series of steps that are revisited periodically.
WSPs are locally tailored to respond to factors such as:
- Estimated contamination levels and risks for a specific system,
- Expectations of investors and clients,
- Willingness or ability to recover costs from the community, and
- Expectations of water quality standards including health and, possibly, acceptability aspects.
Brutal Truth About Present Water Supply System in Terms of Water Safety & Security
Looking at the urban water supply system, India has such ULBs (Union Local Bodies) where water supply is generally for on average 6-8 hrs/day basis
Now, we can identify two problems on a single platform:
- Age old pipelines and infrastructure,
- Insufficient water to deliver on a 24×7 basis to encounter the above-mentioned problem.
Which option should be used then?
24×7 water supply, on one hand, indeed provides
Hence, I must say, we should explore the other option, i.e.
- Replacing pipeline networks,
- Pressure management tools,
- Schedule an active leak detection problem,
- GIS mapping and integrate quality management system with it, and
- Segregation of small water-pockets/zones/ boundaries/ DMAs and so on – to control water loss and detect unreported leaks as soon as possible, etc.
Any water supply system has to compromise its water quality at the consumer’s end – mainly due to
I am glad to see that India is gradually being conscious about upgrading its water infrastructure to improve the water supply system, but the velocity of moving should be a little high in a hugely populated country like India.
Indian citizens still don’t have sufficient awareness about
India is a groundwater economy. At 260 cubic km per year, our country is the highest user of groundwater in the world – we use 25 percent of all groundwater extracted globally, ahead of the USA and China.
When we think of water, however, our brains have been programmed to think of large dams and rivers, and not wells. This, despite the fact that India has at least four crore irrigation wells and millions of farmers who use well water in agriculture.
India was not the highest extractor of groundwater in the 1960s and 70s
The management of water safety through WSPs (or equivalent) is increasingly being formalized globally as an obligation or through strongly promoted good practices for urban water supplies. In a recent WSP implementation progress report, it was noted that “92 countries, representing every region of the world, have implemented WSPs or equivalent risk assessment and risk management approaches.”
Influence of WSP
- Drinking-water infrastructure projects, such as water reticulation networks or water treatment plants.
Water resources infrastructure projects, of which one of the intended beneficial uses is subsequent drinking-water supply.
- Projects that draw water from drinking-water sources (dams, weirs, reservoirs, and rivers), or add water to drinking-water sources, and as a result change the flow of rivers or the level of water in water storages (such as agricultural use, and irrigation).
- Projects that either pollute or clean up drinking-water sources, such as environmental remediation projects or infrastructure investments relating to mining or industry.
- Projects that provide basic infrastructure that, in turn, facilitate improvements in water supply and quality, such as power infrastructure investments.
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