Updated: Friday 19 April 2013

Water Safety Planning to be integrated into the CMP approach

The very first Water Safety Planning Training of Trainers' (ToT) training in Ethiopia was jointly developed by the Community-Led Accelerated WaSH (COWASH) project and World Health Organization (WHO) during February and March 2013. The total number of 26 participants of the ToT training consisted of COWASH Federal Technical Assistance Team, COWASH Regional Support Units' staff members and Water Quality Experts from Regional Water Bureaus from Amhara, Tigray, SNNPRS and Oromia regions. The training was conducted on March 20-26, 2013 in Woliso.

The main objective of the training was to explain that Water Safety Plans (WSPs) are a risk-based approach to most effectively protect the safety of drinking water. WHO’s 4th edition of the Guideline for Drinking Water Quality (WHO, 2011) explicitly states the importance of WSPs, and the Bonn Charter (International Water Association, 2004) advocates the use of WSPs as the best way to ensure good and safe drinking water. WSPs are now being adopted worldwide, but they are not always fully understood by all stakeholders. There are a number of key terms and concepts that are sometimes not translated appropriately or are simply misunderstood. Face-to-face training is therefore considered to be an essential component of globally successful WSP implementation

The training consisted of 12 modules. Each module represented a step-by-step approach to be followed during the implementation of WSPs. Power point presentations followed by group exercises and feedback presentations were the main methods of the training. The groups’ feedback presentations were an excellent media for concluding each training module. Emphasis was given on the session dealing with the preparation of small community water schemes' water safety plan. Consequently the principle of WSP, which claims to start small and grow big, would be fulfilled.

A small community water supply and a town water supply system were visited at the end of the theoretical training modules. The groups produced descriptions of the water supply systems visited, starting from the catchment area and up to the end consumer. Assessments of the systems were made and the water safety risks of the systems identified by conducting a transect walk in the system. Control measures to minimize the identified risks were also recommended by each group.

At the end of the 7-day-training all the four regions agreed to implement the water safety plans as a pilot project provided that the translating of the training materials into local languages would be made at the Federal level. The piloting will start in Amhara: in three woredas under three zones where the COWASH Zonal Advisors will closely follow up; in Tigray and SNNPR in one woreda respectively. Practical engagement with the WSPs will start soon in the CMP woredas in the four regions mentioned above.