The success of source protection in ensuring safe drinking water is centered around being able to understand the hazards present in the catchment then plan and implement control measures to manage water quality risk to levels which can be controlled through downstream barriers. The programs in place to manage source protection are complex sociotechnical systems involving policy, standards, regulators, technology, human factors and so on. This study uses System Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) to analyze the operational hazards of a typical drinking water source protection (DWSP) program and identify countermeasures to ensure safe operations. To validate the STPA results a questionnaire was developed based on selective grouping of the initial countermeasures identified and distributed to specialists in DWSP in Taiwan, Australia and Greece. Through statistical analysis using Principle Components Analysis (PCA), the study identified four critical success factors (CSFs) for DWSP based on the questionnaire responses. The four CSFs identified were “Policy and Government Agency Support of Source Protection”, “Catchment Risk Monitoring and Information”, “Support of Operational Field Activities” and “Response to Water Quality Threats”. The results of this study provide insight into the approach of grouping of source protection measures to identify a series of targeted CSF for operational source protection programs. Using CSF can aid catchment management agencies in ensuring that the risk level in the catchment is managed effectively and that threats to public health from drinking water are managed appropriately.
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