Capacity building and training approaches for water safety plans: A comprehensive literature review

To prevent health risks to consumers, the World Health Organization has recommended Water Safety Plans (a holistic risk assessment and management approach) for all drinking water suppliers since 2004. A multidisciplinary team reviewed the status of capacity building and training approaches. Despite rapid adoption, they found that capacity has not kept pace with implementation needs. Many countries and regions still lack case examples, a legal framework, and training resources. To aid effective scale-up, the review proposes training approaches structured around educational theory, as well as robust monitoring methods and auditing programs.

The World Health Organization has recommended Water Safety Plans (WSPs), a holistic risk assessment and risk management approach, for drinking-water suppliers across low-, middle- and high-income countries, since publishing its 2004 Guidelines forĀ Drinking-Water Quality. While rapid WSP adoption has occurred, capacity is still catching up to implementation needs. Many countries and regions lack case examples, legal requirements, and training resources for WSPs, corresponding to widespread capacity shortfall in the water supply sector. We undertook a comprehensive review of the literature on capacity building and training for WSPs, with the goal of providing recommendations for multiple stakeholder groups at the scales of individual utilities, national governments, and intermediate units of governance. We propose a WSP training taxonomy and discuss it in relation to the stages of learning (introduction, practice, and reinforcement); describe the importance of customizing training to the target group, local language and circumstances; highlight the relevance of auditing for evaluating change over time; and call for robust methods to monitor WSP capacity development.

Capacity building and training approaches for water safety plans: A comprehensive literature review. G. Ferrero, K. Setty, B. Rickert, S. George, A. Rinehold, J. DeFrance, J. Bartram. 2019. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 222:4, pp. 615-627. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2019.01.011