THE RELEVANCE OF WATER PLANNING ON PUBLIC HEALTH

Over the years, the Philippine Water Works Association (PWWA) has been instrumental in creating awareness of the concept of Water Safety Planning (WSP)
                           Considered as a best practice for ensuring the supply of safe and clean drinking water, Water Safety Planning (WSP) refers to a comprehensive approach to asses and manage the risk of the water supply chain, from the source to consumer.

                                    This moves away from the notion that tap water quality testing is the only way to determine the safety of drinking water and instead, regards tap testing as just one of methods to verify water safety. WSP assures that water systems to most complex.

                                    The WSP initiative was introduced by the World Health Organization in 2006. PWWA’s  commitment to help promote the new concept was evident as it tackled the best practices in water management in its Technical Session during the 2006 PhilWater Conference. With the legal, institutional and financial support from the World Health Organization (WHO) and technical assistance of the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) and the Local Water Utilities Administrator (LWUA). PWWA has been instrumental in assisting more than 150 water service providers, mostly water district and some health car facilities in the country draft and develop WSPs.

                                      In 2016, PWWA completed the development of WSPs for water districts in eleven selected priority tourism areas around the country. Its most recent  accomplishment is the conduct of follow up assistance in the finalization of the draft WSPs of 21 water districts through direct coaching and mentoring by experts in a training activity held 1-2 March, 2017 in Dagupan City.

                                      In 2007, the Department of Health issued Administrative Order recognized that the provision of safe water supply prevents the transmission of water-borne pathagens, impurities and minimizes the exposure of individuals to “chemical and physical hazards that could be ingested through contaminated drinking water”

                                     By 04 September 2014, the Department of Health issued Administrative Order No 2014-0027, the National Policy on Water Safety Plan (WSP) for all Drinking Water Service Providers. The objectives of the OA are: to set a national policy requiring all drinking-water service providers to develop and implement water safety plans, to increase the awareness of stakeholders on WSP approach as a management tool, to develop adopt, and implement systems and procedures for WSP, and to strengthen the capacity of drinking-water service providers and partners in the development and implementations of WSP.

                                     This WSP initiative was introduced in 2006 in three phases with Phase 3 culminating in December 2016. This decade long project, supported by the Government of Australia, Institutionalized the approach of water safety planning for all drinking-water service providers  in the Philippines.

                                    Key milestone of the project were the Department of Health’s Administrative Order that required all drinking water service providers to develop and implement water safety plans and the Local Water Utilities Memorandum Circular directing all water districts and rural waterworks association to comply with the DOH Order, both issued in 2014.

                                    The Philippine Water Works Association and International Water Association collaborated with the World Health to Organization and the Department of Health to organize the global Water Safety Conference in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan from 25-28 April 2016. Participants from local government units attended the conference whose main objective was to profile innovative regulator and operational initiatives as well as capacity building approaches and WSP implementation.

                                    According to the International Water Association, WSPs are at the core of the IWA’s Bonn Charter (2004), which sets out the principles of an effected drinking water quality management framework and responsibilities of keys parties. These principles are reiterated in the IWA Lisbon Charter on Public Policy and regulation which became effective in 2015. The Lisbon Charter is an international framework of good practice for public policy and regulation in drinking water supply, sanitation and wastewater management services.

 

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