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Water Safety Plans for small-scale water supply system in Romania

WHOCC Newsletter publishes article by WECF's Margriet Samwel on Water Safety Plans for small-scale water supply systems in Romania

28.07.2010 |Margriet Samwel

The described project was based on co-operation with school and local teachers in order to improve awareness of drinking water safety issues of inhabitants of rural areas in Romania.

WECF contribution on WSP  in the WHOCC newsletter

Water Safety Plans that are a part of guidance on drinking water quality have been introduced by World Health Organization (WHO). Their aim is to identify and eliminate all risks that could appear in water supply system. Final product of Water Safety Plans can be used by local community in order to get to know the risk of water pollution and ways how to avoid them.

However, it can be hard for non-professionals to fully understand the Water Safety Plans and use their guidance correctly. That is why Women in Europe for a Common Futures modified WSP publication in accordance to needs of its project in Romania for locals to fully understand and apply the knowledge on risk of water pollution while working with water supply system on the local level. The tool-kit contains materials and instructions to run simple water tests as well as sanitary inspection forms what is very useful in rural areas of Romania. Romania has been still struggling with water supply system in rural areas.

Only 76% of rural areas have access to improved water system and 7 million people get their drinking water from the sources that are not well protected. As the local awareness of water safety issues is very low, men-made water pollution has a huge risk to be common.  Water safety issues are still not recognized by Romania, even though the government has accepted EU drinking water legislation. For several years WECF has been observing a level of small-scale water supply systems there. Different kind of bacteria and other pollution was found in those water supply systems, however many people are not conscious about the danger connected to drinking water pollution. In order to increase the local awareness of this problem and provide tips to solve this situation, WECF published an educational package (WSP tools) for schools. It aims to improve small-scale water supply system in regions where schools and local teachers were interested in running the project together with WECF.

Any of the villages taking part in the project had a central water supply system. The project was run from November till the end of school year in 2009. Before the implementation of the project the teachers had been trained in order to get familiar with water safety issues. Projects in schools were composed of testing water samples, contests on water topics, lectures on water and identification of the water supply system problems that should be solved by local authorities and community. The results of water tests were presented to local communities. Unfortunately the results were not good and there is a big risk of water pollution and health problems connected to the lack of safe drinking water access. WECF presented a discussion and future perspectives connected to Water Safety Plans in Romania. 

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