Assessing Operational Performance Benefits of a Water Safety Plan Implemented in Southwestern France

Aims: The World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended Water Safety Plans (WSPs) since 2004 as a means to reduce drinking water contamination and risks to human health. These risk management programs have shown promise across several potential areas of evaluation, such as economic benefits and regulatory compliance. Since WSPs are largely carried out by people who interact with water treatment equipment and processes, operational performance indicators may be key to understanding the mechanisms behind desirable WSP impacts such as water quality and public health improvement.

Method: This study reports performance measures collected at a WSP implementation location in southwestern France over several years.

Results: Quantitative assessment of performance measures supported qualitative reports from utility managers. results indicate significantly reduced duration of low-chlorine events at one production facility and a significant decrease in customer complaints related to water quality, manifesting reported improvements in operational performance and the customer service culture.

Conclusion: The findings demonstrate some success stories and potential areas of future performance tracking. Cyclical iteration of the WSP can help to achieve continuous quality improvement. Successfully applied evaluation criteria such as the number of water quality complaints or alarm resolution time might be useful across other locations.

Assessing operational performance benefits of a Water Safety Plan implemented in southwestern France. Karen Setty, G O’Flaherty, J Enault, S Lapouge, JF Loret, and J Bartram. 2018. Perspectives in Public Health, Volume 138, Issue 5: 270-278. doi: 10.1177/1757913918787846.