Sustainability of Water Safety Plans Developed in Sub-Saharan Africa
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. The Development of a Simplified Water Safety Plan Approach
|Assemble the WSP team||✓|
|Describe the water supply system||✓|
|Identify hazards and hazardous events and assess the risks||✓|
|Determine and validate control measures, reassess and prioritize the risks||✗|
|Develop, implement and maintain an improvement/upgrade plan||✓|
|Define monitoring of the control measures||✓|
|Verify the effectiveness of the WSP||✓|
|Prepare management procedures||✗|
|Develop supporting programmes||✓|
|Plan and carry out periodic review of the WSP||✓|
|Revise the WSP following an incident||✗|
2.2. Development of a Tool Based on Five Sustainability Elements
|Technical||Are there locally knowledge and technical expertise necessary for the elaboration and development of a WSP?|
|Are there locally knowledge and technical expertise necessary for the management and update of a WSP?|
|Are there locally knowledge and technical expertise necessary for the design and construction of a technology for drinking water treatment?|
|Are there locally knowledge and technical expertise necessary for the operation and maintenance of a technology for drinking water treatment?|
|Is there locally the availability of people and material resources for the WSP implementation?|
|Is there locally the availability of people and material resources for the construction and management of the technology used for drinking water treatment?|
|Is the WSP performing as it was designed to perform?|
|Is the technology used for drinking water treatment performing as it was designed to perform?|
|Economic||Is there locally economic availability necessary for the elaboration and development of a WSP?|
|Is there locally economic availability necessary for the design and construction of a technology for drinking water treatment?|
|Is there locally economic availability necessary for the management and update of a WSP?|
|Is there locally economic availability necessary for the operation and maintenance of a technology for drinking water treatment?|
|Organisational and Institutional||Has the WSP team been adequately trained for the implementation and management of the WSP?|
|Have the managers and operators been adequately trained for the construction, operation and maintenance of the technology used for drinking water treatment?|
|Are the WSP managers supported by the local community?|
|Are the adopted technology managers supported by the local community?|
|Are the WSP managers supported by the local Institutions (political and technical Institutions)?|
|Are the adopted technology managers supported by the local Institutions (political and technical Institutions)?|
|Social and Cultural||Has the community been informed about the WSP implementation and its benefits?|
|Has the community been informed about the technology used for drinking water treatment and its benefits?|
|Is the community favourable to the WSP implementation?|
|Is the community favourable to the use of a technology for drinking water treatment?|
|Does the community contribute and encourage the WSP elaboration and implementation?|
|Does the community contribute and encourage the use of the technology for drinking water treatment?|
|Environmental and Health||Has the WSP implementation improved local people health?|
|Has the WSP implementation permitted to guarantee the drinking water quality according to the WHO standards?|
|Are the adopted technology managers well equipped to assure well-being and health?|
|Have adequate measures been adopted in order to safety dispose of any residues produced by the technology for drinking water treatment?|
|Has the WSP implementation prevented the arising of any negative impact on the environment?|
|Possible Answer||Score/Sustainability Level|
|Not applicable to the project||Not considered|
2.3. The Study Area in Senegal
2.4. The Study Area in Burkina Faso
2.5. Complementary Evaluation Based on Costs and Time Consumption
3. Results and Discussion
3.1. Appraisal Tool Output
3.2. Time and Costs Analysis
4. Further Considerations
- Number of inhabitants: The greater the community, the more complex (and costly) is the WSP development.
- Social-cultural and political structure: A simple political authorities’ structure and a social-cultural availability positively contribute to the WSP sustainability.
- Support of local (technical and political) authorities: WSP more sustainable if support is guaranteed.
- Presence/absence of water committees: Water committees already in place make the WSP development simpler.
- Presence/absence of control measures already in place in order to prevent/minimise drinking water contamination: Controls already in place positively contribute to the WSP sustainability and strongly help to minimise costs and time.
- Drinking water management (use of more or less appropriate practices): The more good practices are spread, the simpler, cheaper and less time consuming (and thus the more sustainable) is the WSP.
- The use of the questionnaire permitted highlighting of the elements able to guarantee the sustainability of the WSP, such as the technical and the social and cultural elements that obtained the highest average scores. Moreover, the possible elements of failure were also outlined, such as the economic one.
- The questionnaire alone cannot be the only method to investigate the sustainability of a project, but it can provide a general overview from the standpoint of the different stakeholders. Indeed, as shown by the results of the two case studies, the application of the questionnaire alone would not have allowed understanding of some aspects (appreciated thanks to the surveys carried out in loco). One of these is the presence of a strong local partner (as an NGO), able to gain the reliance of the local communities in the project, assuring its sustainability. This positive aspect resulted in a degree of success, due to the investigations conducted in loco.
- The questionnaire relies on the subjective interpretation of the different stakeholders involved in the sustainability evaluation, as clearly highlighted in the environmental and health element of the Burkina Faso case study.
- The sustainability evaluation performed by means of the questionnaire was carried out at the end of the projects, but a long-term assessment (after 1, 5, or 10 years) should also be provided in order to deeply understand the projects’ effectiveness. Moreover, if revised, the questionnaire can also be useful for evaluation of the sustainability of the activities (technologies or approaches implemented) before and during the project development.
- Time needed for the development of a WSP is not negligible. The WSP step characterised by the highest time consumption was demonstrated to be hazard assessment (in both the case studies). The WSP implementation, in terms of time, can vary depending on water system complexity.
- WSP costs were demonstrated to be strongly dependent on water system complexity and drinking water pollution. Indeed, the easy structure of the water supply system and the only presence of microbiological contamination in Burkina Faso provided rather acceptable costs of WSP implementation and management, whilst the more complex and polluted water system in Senegal was related to extremely high costs.
- An interesting solution for making sustainable costs of the WSP implementation can be to spread them amongst the local community (if feasible), otherwise the need of external funds is mandatory.
- The time and costs analysis carried out in this research was useful for understanding how the complexity of the water system under investigation should be carefully considered before the WSP elaboration and implementation.
- Due to the subjective nature of the questionnaire, the final scores should not be considered as absolute values. Indeed, these scores should be used not only to strictly evaluate the sustainability of the WSPs, but rather to trigger discussions amongst the stakeholders in order to identify actions able to improve the sustainability of the rural water services.
- The questionnaire elaborated in the present research could be improved, providing different or more questions, above all in order to investigate the sustainability of the economic, organisational and institutional, and environmental and health elements.
- If applied in a context where the water treatment does not represent a critical aspect in the supply chain, the specific questions addressed to investigate this phase should be ignored, in order to make the questionnaire pithier.
- A survey in the field should be carried out before the WSP elaboration, in order to evaluate the presence of a strong local partner able to strengthen the activities/actions recommended by the WSP approach (possible reason of success) and to evaluate the complexity of the water supply system (possible reason of failure, above all in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa).
- During the WSP development, the cost analysis should be used to address a list of priority interventions to put in place in order to guarantee (as far as possible in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa) the safety of the drinking water distributed and consumed, and thus the effectiveness of the WSP.
Conflicts of Interest
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Rondi, L.; Sorlini, S.; Collivignarelli, M.C. Sustainability of Water Safety Plans Developed in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sustainability 2015, 7, 11139-11159. https://doi.org/10.3390/su70811139
Rondi L, Sorlini S, Collivignarelli MC. Sustainability of Water Safety Plans Developed in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sustainability. 2015; 7(8):11139-11159. https://doi.org/10.3390/su70811139Chicago/Turabian Style
Rondi, Luca, Sabrina Sorlini, and Maria Cristina Collivignarelli. 2015. "Sustainability of Water Safety Plans Developed in Sub-Saharan Africa" Sustainability 7, no. 8: 11139-11159. https://doi.org/10.3390/su70811139