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Rural Water Safety Plans (a.k.a. WSPs) have they been used at all, except for contexts in which water is provided by formal utilities?

Hi Cor,

I'm in a "discussion" with UNICEF and GWP about rural water safety plans. I claim that if water safety plans have been used at all, so far this has been mainly by utilities and so mainly in urban settings. During all my years with IRC I never came about the concept and have certainly never heard anyone speaking about having used the tool or having been directly involved in writing up rural water safety plans. I'd like to be proven wrong. So far, UNICEF HQ and GWP have not sent me any example.

Do you happen to know them? Have you got any in IRC's database? I tried to search for them, but havn't found a single plan in IRC's databased. But then my search may not have been clever enough?

I'd appreciate, if you can, to get an as quick as possible reaction.

Thanks so much,


5 Answers


Hi Peter

The folk you need to talk to are WHO-Europe. They have been piloting rural water safety planning in Tajikistan and have come up with useful guidance:

I spoke to one of the authors, Oliver Schmoll, a few months ago and he was very helpful



Dear Peter and Cor,

On water safety plans in a rural context, DWSS in Nepal has been working with WHO on the introduction of WSPs since 2006/7. Currently there are WSPs in rural areas, urban schemes and school water supply systems. With Australian Aid, DWSS and WHO have been able to expand the support system in recent years, and have also been able to strengthen the WQ testing component. WSPs are just a part of the overall effort to raise functionality and quality of service delivery. I will have to request Nepal whether they have done an assessment of the current effectiveness of the implementation of WSPs. Anyway, it is a mandatory component of the national regulatory set-up, through water quality standards (2005) and directives to improve service delivery (2012, 2014). WSPs have successfully been implemented in several hundred rural schemes all around Nepal. However sustainability of the effort is not known to me. I will have to check.

Safe Water Strategy

Dear Peter,

The dedicated WHO/IWA Water Safety Plan portal has an extensive list of case studies:

Debora Bonucci

Dear Peter,

Thank you for your interesting question.

There is a good example of Rural Water Safety Plan in Sri Lanka. Here you can find few references:

WSP linked with communities’ participation

Also please find enclosed the link to rural safety plan pilots in rural context

Best regards,



Dear all those who have responded, thank you so much for sharing. Very helpful indeed. I'll try to get in touch with Oliver Schmoll. To Han, if you have any further insights or a suggestion as to whom to contact in Nepal, that would be great!

However I'd like to provoke all of you! I have browsed through all the resources suggested. Most of them if not all are guidelines; training; intentions to use WSP mainly for water quality; and similar. None, as far as I can see, give me examples of actual WSPlans and even less whether such WSP have been implemented at larger scale and have proven to be genuinly useful to those concerned. By those concerned I mean the beneficiairies of the service and those in-country that are supposed to produce and use WSPlans! Please prove me wrong, help me find the evidence! Thanks so much, Peter