Development and implementation of a water-safety plan for drinking-water supply system of Cali, Colombia
Pérez Vidal, Andrea
Escobar Rivera, Juan Carlos
Torres Lozada, Patricia
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The water-safety plan (WSP) approach integrates risk assessment and management practices into a drinking-water supply system (DWSS), ensuring water quality from the catchment to the consumer. This research was oriented toward the development and implementation of a WSP in the DWSS for the city of Santiago de Cali, Colombia. We adapted the methodological stages of the WSP established by the World Health Organization: (i.) assemble a WSP team, (ii.) describe the existing DWSS, (iii.) identify hazards and hazardous events, (iv.) evaluate risks, and (v.) plan risk management. In this methodological structure, we propose the use of different risk assessment tools at each step of DWSS, which can be implemented in water systems of different sizes. The results of our study allowed the identification of hazardous events that may compromise the effectiveness of the WSP: Of the 103 events found, 16 were related to the catchment, 40 to treatment processes, 27 to the distribution system, and 9 to consumers, while the remaining 11 were associated with organizational, planning, contingency, and emergency factors. We found that the most critical components of the DWSS are the distribution system and the consumers, with 29.6% and 33.3% of the hazardous events classified as at a very high risk level, respectively. Clearly, improvement and support programs for the WSP were needed to optimize existing control measures and corrective actions and to evaluate new ones to reduce risk levels. The treatment processes and distribution system steps were shown as the main barriers of the DWSS mainly they are under governance of water company, unlike the catchment and consumers which presented higher levels of risk because in these steps the water company has less control and influence. Our research confirms that the WSP is an important tool for decision-making by water-service companies—improving their administrative, financial, organizational, and operational management. It also shows that it is essential that their senior management and other stakeholders be part of the WSP team at each stage of implementation of the DWSS.