Special Issue "Drinking Water Safety Management"

A special issue of Resources (ISSN 2079-9276).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Giuliana Ferrero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
IHE Delft, Delft, the Netherlands
Interests: water quality; water safety; drinking water disinfection; water reuse; advanced oxidation processes
Dr. Sara J. Marks
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
EAWAG, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Interests: drinking water safety; water quality monitoring; sanitary inspections; risk management; water infrastructure sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 reflects the relevance of water safety on the international agenda. SDG Target 6.1 concerns achieving equitable and universal access to safe drinking water by 2030, with priority placed on delivering “safely managed” water supplies, defined as drinking water that is free from faecal and priorty chemical contamination. Currently, the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme estimates that 785 million people globally lack even basic drinking water services, and 2 billion people rely on sources contaminated with faeces (JMP, 2019). Risk assessment and risk management practices, including water safety plans (WSP), quantitative microbial risk assessment (QMRA), and sanitary inspections (SI), can help to curtail risks in the water supply chain from catchment to consumers.

This Special Issue aims at furthering knowledge on drinking water safety management practices, with a specific focus on impact assessement. In particular, we welcome research studies that examine promising approaches for developing and implementating water safety strategies, or that highlight how such strategies contribute to water quality and health outcomes (e.g., risk-based approaches to surveillance). We welcome case studies as well as papers with a regional or global focus. We also welcome viewpoints and review articles on the topic of improved water safety generally.

Dr. Giuliana Ferrero
Dr. Sara J. Marks
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Resources is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Water safety
  • Water quality
  • Drinking water
  • Hazards
  • Quantitative microbial risk assessment
  • Sanitary inspections
  • Surveillance
  • Impact assessement

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Article
Combining Sanitary Inspection and Water Quality Data in Western Uganda: Lessons Learned from a Field Trial of Original and Revised Sanitary Inspection Forms
Resources 2020, 9(12), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9120150 - 18 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1330
Abstract
Risk assessment for drinking water systems combines sanitary inspections (SI) and water quality testing and is critical for effectively managing the safety of these systems. SI forms consist of question sets relating to the presence of potential sources and pathways of contamination specific [...] Read more.
Risk assessment for drinking water systems combines sanitary inspections (SI) and water quality testing and is critical for effectively managing the safety of these systems. SI forms consist of question sets relating to the presence of potential sources and pathways of contamination specific to different types of water points, piped distribution systems, and household collection and storage practices. As part of the revision to the Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality (GDWQ), the World Health Organization (WHO) is updating the suite of SI forms to reflect and include the most recent technical and scientific information available. This paper reports the results from a field pilot of a selection of published and revised SI forms and water quality testing in the municipality of Bushenyi-Ishaka, Uganda. We collected data from 45 springs, 61 taps from piped distribution systems, and 129 household storage containers filled with water from those springs and taps. The median total risk scores, according to the revised forms, for spring, tap, and household practices were 36, 53, and 33%, respectively, with higher percentages indicating greater risk. The median Escherichia coli concentrations of spring, tap, and household storage systems were 17, <1, and 7 CFU/100 mL, respectively. We found that increased questioning in the revised SI forms do not necessarily translate to a higher total risk. There is potential for misinterpretation of terminology in the revised SI forms and occasional redundancy of concepts. For the revised SI form for springs, we suggest specific text changes to reduce potential bias. We recommend that users of SI forms receive training in their use and be familiar with their locale. Furthermore, the revised SI forms may need to be adapted in accordance with the local context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Safety Management)
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Article
The Potential for Citizen Science to Improve the Reach of Sanitary Inspections
Resources 2020, 9(12), 142; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9120142 - 06 Dec 2020
Viewed by 1057
Abstract
To achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking-water quality and sanitation for all, and 10, to reduce inequality within and among countries, additional and urgent work is required. Efforts to achieve these Goals in the [...] Read more.
To achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking-water quality and sanitation for all, and 10, to reduce inequality within and among countries, additional and urgent work is required. Efforts to achieve these Goals in the context of small drinking-water supplies, which are the furthest behind in regards to progress, are of particular need. Reasons for this disparity in progress include the remoteness of access to small drinking-water supplies and the lack of technical and financial capacity for monitoring supplies. The World Health Organization promote the use of Sanitary inspection (SI) as an on-site assessment of risk. Despite the potential to increase the body of knowledge and information on supplies in a region, there has been limited research into the role of citizen science and SIs. To meet SDG targets, we need to improve the reach of SIs. This study uses a mixed methods approach of quantitative on-site SI data collection and remote SI data collection via photographic images, together with qualitative data collection, collected by non-expert students, who are citizens of Malawi, as well as a panel of experts in the field of SI. Results indicate that, although further research into the topic is required prior to widescale implementation, the potential exists for citizens to conduct SI, with remote expert verification of the results using photographic images of supplies. Further documentation or guidance is required to support citizens in this process. The results highlight a critical gap in the availability of appropriate documentation for unprotected spring sources which is urgently required. The use of citizen science for SI data collection is in its infancy. However, this study indicates that there is potential to explore the use of citizen science in this area, which will contribute to achieving SDGs 6 and 10. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Safety Management)
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Article
Does Training Improve Sanitary Inspection Answer Agreement between Inspectors? Quantitative Evidence from the Mukono District, Uganda
Resources 2020, 9(10), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9100120 - 10 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1087
Abstract
Sanitary inspections (SIs) are checklists of questions used for achieving/maintaining the safety of drinking-water supplies by identifying observable actual and potential sources and pathways of contamination. Despite the widespread use of SIs, the effects of training on SI response are understudied. Thirty-six spring [...] Read more.
Sanitary inspections (SIs) are checklists of questions used for achieving/maintaining the safety of drinking-water supplies by identifying observable actual and potential sources and pathways of contamination. Despite the widespread use of SIs, the effects of training on SI response are understudied. Thirty-six spring supplies were inspected on two occasions, pre- and post-training, by an instructor from the research team and four local inspectors in the Mukono District of Uganda. SI score agreement between the instructor and each inspector was calculated using Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient. Average SI score agreement between the instructor and all inspectors increased post-training for the Yes/No answer type (0.262 to 0.490). For the risk level answer type (e.g., No, Low, Medium, High), average SI score agreement between the instructor and all inspectors increased post-training (0.301 to 0.380). Variability of SI scores between the four inspectors was calculated using coefficient of variation analysis. Average SI score variability between inspectors reduced post-training for both answer types, Yes/No (21.25 to 16.16) and risk level (24.12 to 19.62). Consistency of answer agreement between the four inspectors for each individual SI question was calculated using index of dispersion analysis. Average answer dispersion between inspectors reduced post-training for both answer types, Yes/No (0.41 to 0.27) and risk level (0.55 to 0.41). The findings indicate that training has a positive effect on improving answer agreement between inspectors. However, advanced training or tailoring of SI questions to the local context may be required where inconsistency of responses between inspectors persists, especially for the risk level answer type that requires increased use of inspector risk perception. Organisations should be aware of the potential inconsistency of results between inspectors so that this may be rectified with appropriate training and, where necessary, better SI design and customisation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Safety Management)
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Article
Rural Drinking Water Safety under Climate Change: The Importance of Addressing Physical, Social, and Environmental Dimensions
Resources 2020, 9(6), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9060077 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2119
Abstract
This paper explores the physical, social, and environmental dimensions of how climate change impacts affect drinking water safety in a rural context in developing countries. Climate impacts, such as contamination or the reduced availability of preferred drinking water sources due to climate-related hazards, [...] Read more.
This paper explores the physical, social, and environmental dimensions of how climate change impacts affect drinking water safety in a rural context in developing countries. Climate impacts, such as contamination or the reduced availability of preferred drinking water sources due to climate-related hazards, threaten water safety in rural areas and these impacts will likely worsen as climate change accelerates. We qualitatively examined these impacts in a community in rural Vanuatu using three approaches side-by-side: adaptation, vulnerability, and resilience. We employed a mixed methods case study methodology that combined semi-structured interviews, technological and environmental surveys, and observations. We demonstrate the influence of physical infrastructure design, social structures mediating water access, and the availability of multiple sustainable water resources on water safety with respect to climate impacts. We also show how the initial problematization of how climate affects water safety can influence subsequent actions to address, or overlook, issues of infrastructure design and maintenance, social equity, and natural resource management for water access. Improvements to rural drinking water safety management in the context of climate change should take a pluralistic approach, informed by different conceptualizations of climate impacts, to account for the varied causal pathways of reduced water safety for different members of a community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Safety Management)
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Article
Improving Risk Assessments by Sanitary Inspection for Small Drinking-Water Supplies—Qualitative Evidence
Resources 2020, 9(6), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9060071 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2161
Abstract
Small drinking-water supplies face particular challenges in terms of their management. Being vulnerable to contamination but often not monitored regularly nor well-maintained, small drinking-water supplies may pose consequences for health of users. Sanitary inspection (SI) is a risk assessment tool to identify and [...] Read more.
Small drinking-water supplies face particular challenges in terms of their management. Being vulnerable to contamination but often not monitored regularly nor well-maintained, small drinking-water supplies may pose consequences for health of users. Sanitary inspection (SI) is a risk assessment tool to identify and manage observable conditions of the water supply technology or circumstances in the catchment area that may favour certain hazardous events and introduce hazards which may become a risk to health. This qualitative research aimed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the SI tool as published by the World Health Organisation to inform a review and update of the forms and to improve their robustness. The study identified a number of benefits of the approach, such as its simplicity and ease of use. Challenges were also identified, such as potential for inconsistencies in perception of risk between inspectors, in interpreting questions, and lack of follow-up action. The authors recommend a revision of the existing SI forms to address the identified challenges and development of complementary advice on possible remedial action to address identified risk factors and on basic operations and maintenance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Safety Management)

Review

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Review
Success Factors for Water Safety Plan Implementation in Small Drinking Water Supplies in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
Resources 2020, 9(11), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/resources9110126 - 28 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1182
Abstract
Water Safety Plan (WSP) implementation has the potential to greatly improve, commonly very challenging and resource limited, small drinking water supplies. Although slower than in urban or high-income settings, the uptake of WSPs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is accelerating. Understanding the [...] Read more.
Water Safety Plan (WSP) implementation has the potential to greatly improve, commonly very challenging and resource limited, small drinking water supplies. Although slower than in urban or high-income settings, the uptake of WSPs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is accelerating. Understanding the factors which will make a WSP successful will further improve efficient uptake and assist with its long-term sustainability. Based on an extensive literature search using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISM-A) methodology, 48 publications, including case studies and guidance documentation, formed the basis of this review. These were analysed using inductive and deductive coding methods to (i) identify the success factors applicable to WSP implementation in small drinking water supplies in LMICs and (ii) to investigate which factors are more or less critical depending on the geography and level of development of the implementing country. Key challenges identified during the review process were also noted. A comparison of these success factors was made with those identified from high-income and urban settings. The three most important success factors identified are the development of technical capacity, community engagement, and monitoring and verification. Factors specific to small drinking water supplies in LMICs include support from non-government organisations, integration into existing water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs, simplicity, and community engagement. Certain factors, such as adaptability, the use of guidance documentation, international collaboration, the role of pilot studies, knowledge sharing, and stakeholder involvement are applicable to all WSP settings. Due to the specific challenges faced by small drinking water systems and the limited number of original research publications on this topic, this study highlights the need for further data collection and research focused on success factors in these settings. It is anticipated that the consideration of the success factors identified in this study will assist implementers in improving the uptake and long-term sustainability of WSPs in small drinking water supplies in low- and middle-income settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drinking Water Safety Management)
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