Rural Village Water Resources Management Project
Improving livelihoods in Sudurpashchim and Karnali Provinces in Nepal
Water Safety Plans
Identification of contamination routes
RVWRMP places strong emphasis on supporting communities in the delivery of safe and sustainable drinking water services. Neither of these can be taken for granted: both water quality and the functionality of the services can easily be compromised by human and natural causes. RVWRMP water quality data has revealed that while chemical contamination is of no concern in the project area, the occurrence of biological (faecal) contamination is alarming. During rainy season, turbidity is also high especially if stream sources are used.
While the WHO, DWSS and many other sector agencies have defined WSPs, this is usually done in the context of large and/or urban schemes. In rural context the overall regular Operation and Maintenance must be one part of the equation, relating to both quality and functionality.
Definition of Water Safety Plan in RVWRMP:
Water Safety Plan (WSP) is defined as a management tool to assist in meeting targets through systematic steps. WSP is a plan to ensure the safety of drinking water through the use of a comprehensive risk assessment and risk management approach that covers all steps in water supply from catchment to consumer (“source to mouth”).
Water Safety Plans have been developed as a simple yet efficient do-able tool that can be prepared and practiced with local resources without involvement of external support. A separate guideline and training package has been developed accordingly.
All RVWRMP water users committees develop and implement a WSP in post-construction phase. WSP and O&M capacity building and activities go side by side. Water safety is advocated in all types of village level trainings and mass campaigns from very initial stage of the project planning.
In the Rural Context, a Simplified and Do-able WSP includes the Following Components:
1. Preparation: Basic Operation and Maintenance criteria, supportive programs and transect walk
2. Planning: Operation and Maintenance plan that includes WSP – this plan should be graphical (map, drawing) or clearly in the minutes in the UC books. This is something visible to any external person who asks to see the WSP; a reference & reminder also to the UC. This plan has two dimensions:
I. Regular Operation and Maintenance:
a) Basic O&M for addressing basic service level (quantity)
b) Works for addressing water safety (quality)
c) Works for disaster prevention: how to protect the main systems from any disasters. i.e. soil/watershed conservation; flood protection; etc
d) Preparations for the disaster: when there is a high risk for landslide or floods that are beyond prevention, i.e. transmission lines going through major landslide areas or there is no other options for the intakes than those areas that are knows for seasonal floods/landslides from the on-set
Identification of preventative works that can reduce the impact of a possible disaster
Identification of works that can be done immediately after the disaster (i.e. Users Committee and/or Village Maintenance Worker/s always have a stock of minimum materials/tools for taking immediate action, i.e. replacing pipes, clearing & repairing intakes)
II. Emergency plan: what to do when the main system fails? This also has sub- dimensions
Identification of the alternative drinking water sources and their maintenance in case of an emergency (when the disaster has already taken place).
Point of Use Water treatment: stock of bleaching powder in preparation for the rainy season; awareness materials for people how to make drinking water safe at home; other materials addressing diarrhoea outbreaks e.g. hand washing, soap, rehydration salt preparation, etc.
3. Action: Implementation of the Action Plan
The main steps in WSP formulation include:
Step 1. Scheme transect walk, paying attention to the items as given in the WSP checklist, to be conducted by the selected team.
Step 2. System Assessment and contamination route identification determines whether the drinking water supply system as a whole can deliver the water quality that meets health targets. System assessment with attention to risks/hazards is done to acquire information on whether the water quality has been degraded or could be degraded from source to mouth (intake to household water usage).
Step 3. Operational Monitoring: to ensure the continuous monitoring and application of preventative and corrective actions if system is prone to or goes wrong any time. A contingency plan to have nearest water accessible point should be identified and source preserved, in case of main system fails.
Step 4. Management and Communication: describing action to be taken during normal operation and incident conditions and documenting the system assessment, control measures, monitoring and compliance plans and supporting programs.
UC will prepare the immediate action plan and maintains the decisions and corrective actions taken in their Minute Books and/or other documents as prepared during the above steps.