Water Safety Plans:
An Online Distance Learning Program

Risk-Management for Drinking Water Supplies


The Water Institute has developed a 10 week online learning course on Water Safety Plans (WSPs) aimed at those in the water industry with management, engineering, or operational responsibilities. Water Safety Plans represent a new approach to managing risks of water system failure that was developed by the World Health Organization and field-tested in the UK, Australia, Iceland, Nepal, and Uganda. This Distance Learning Program offers:

  • Skill and capacity building in global best practice to ensure consistent safety and acceptability of drinking-water through WSPs
  • Flexibility to study from your own computer while on the job, so you can learn and apply WSP principles and practices where you work
  • Professional recognition of enhanced expertise

Throughout the course key content is presented through problem-solving scenarios and case study examples. A series of modules synthesizes cumulative knowledge from the lessons and illustrates experiences gained in real-world WSPs. The course is overseen by a coordinator who provides overall continuity and personal interaction. A highlight of the course is the ability for participants to work asynchronously but interact through a discussion forum. Participants can expect to spend 3-4 hours per week reading materials and completing written assignments.

Registration Information

Developed Country
or International Agency

Less Developed Country







* We define Less Developed/Developed countries according to the World Bank assessment, based upon the registrant’s current country of residence.


Register for Upcoming Courses

Fall 2016: October 3 – December 11

Winter 2017: February 1 -April 10


Overview of the Course

This course covers ten weeks of material. The topics for each week are:

Week 1 Assemble the WSP Team
Week 2 Understand the water supply system
Week 3 Identify hazards and hazardous events and assess the risks
Week 4 Determine and validate control measures, reassess, and prioritize the risks
Week 5 Develop, implement, and maintain an improvement plan
Week 6 Define monitoring of the control measures
Week 7 Verify the effectiveness of the WSP
Week 8 Prepare management procedures
Week 9 Develop supporting programs
Week 10 Plan and carry out periodic review of the WSP; Revise the WSP following an incident


Professional Recognition

Upon completion of the 10-week course, participants will receive a certificate attesting to their program completion and the acquisition of understanding needed to develop and implement a water safety plan for their utility. The course offers 4 CEUs (Continuing Education Units).


Technical Requirements

  • An Internet Connection: The Water Safety Plans Distance Learning Program will be taught an online, and therefore all participants will need access to a working internet connection.
  • An Active Email Address: All course participants will need to provide an active email address to facilitate communication with the course instructor.
  • A Modern Internet Browser: The Water Safety Plan Course is taught using a web-based platform known as the Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment. No downloads or software installations are required to use Sakai, as Sakai is entirely web-based. The Sakai Collaboration and Learning Environment is designed to work with modern browsers. You should be safe with the latest versions of Firefox (Mozilla), Safari (Apple), Chrome (Google), and with IE 9 (Microsoft Internet Explorer aka IE) and IE 8. Sakai CLE does not work with IE 7 and earlier nor with Firefox 10 and earlier.
  • A PDF Reader: Some course materials will be available via Adobe PDF. Participants will need to install a PDF reader, if they have not done so already, in order to view these materials offline. Adobe offers free PDF reader software download for PC, Mac, and Unix machines at the following site: http://get.adobe.com/reader/