Public HealthPH2ADevelop procedures to collect information required to regulate drinking water quality and water and sanitation safety plans
Regulators develop transparent and clear procedures for operators to provide water safety information.
These outline operators’ obligations in terms of what information on drinking water quality they must provide to regulators and how often. Such procedures can be digitalized and connected to accredited laboratories through interactive online mechanisms.
Regulators coordinate the assessment and analysis of the collected data with ministries of health and make this publicly available.
- Essential information on water safety is made available and accessible.
- Service operators follow clear and transparent procedures.
- Consumer health is adequately protected.
In Argentina, the results of the testing carried out by the drinking water and sanitation services operator are systematically reported to the regulator in various formats and according to different modalities. Some of them are:
-Warning levels: Within twenty-four hours of detection, the operator informs the regulator of any bacteriological anomalies, allowing the regulator to verify their remediation.
-Technical Indicator System: The operator reports to the regulator monthly on the levels of each operating parameter for each district of the area in question.
-Annual Service Levels Report: At the end of each annual period, the operator informs the regulator of service levels in accordance with all contractually stipulated quality parameters. The report is used to analyze trends.
The testing reported by the operator is audited by the regulator through inspections and verifications, such as the review of records of analytical results from the concessionaire’s laboratory, or the collection of separate samples by the regulator at certain points for their analysis by hired laboratories.
Depending on the case, the regulator carries out inspections and analyses at points of interest to verify, primarily, that the concessionaire has remediated the quality deficiencies detected and the negative trends in operating parameters.
In Paraguay, General Law No. 1.614/2000 on the Regulatory and Tariff Framework for Public Drinking Water and Sanitary Sewerage Provision stipulates that the service provider shall comply with its obligations to conduct quality testing of basic parameters for drinking water and discharges into the sanitary sewerage system and receiving water bodies, as well as other regulatory indicators, via monthly reports to the regulator containing the results of testing activities in the format that is expressly required by the regulator.
Additionally, all providers are to submit monthly reports to the regulator containing information on the quality of raw and produced water, well water and network drinking water.
For the purposes of facilitating regulator supervision, the provider shall allow the inspection of facilities, equipment, records and files.
In the UK, the Water Industry (Suppliers’ Information) Direction 2021 stipulates the following.
- On or before the 7th day of each month, a water supplier must report to the drinking water quality regulator the results of analysis of all compliance samples taken during the penultimate month.
- On or before the 7th day of each month, a water supplier must report to the drinking water quality regulator details of the out of service records for any of the above assets for the penultimate month.
- On or before 21 October each year, under Regulation 28, a water supplier must report to the drinking water quality regulator a full submission of risks identified under Regulation 27(1)
Provision of monthly information relating to compliance with the Regulations: (1) On or before the 7th day of each month, a water supplier must report to the drinking water quality regulator the results of analysis of any compliance sample taken during the penultimate month (for example, a report in March must be about the samples taken during the previous January) where the analysis showed that the sample exceeded: (a) the prescribed concentration or value for a parameter listed in Schedule 1 to the Regulations; or (b) the specification of an indicator parameter listed in Schedule 2 to the Regulations.
Provision of information—events, incidents, emergencies etc.: (1) A water supplier must notify the drinking water quality regulator of: (a) The occurrence of any event which, because of its effect or likely effect on the quality or sufficiency of water supplied by the supplier, gives rise, or is likely to give rise, to a significant risk to the health of persons to whom the water is supplied.
Provision of annual information on consumer contacts about drinking water quality: (1) On or before 31 January in each calendar year, a water supplier must report to the drinking water quality regulator about each contact about drinking water quality that the water supplier received from any of its consumers during the previous calendar year, as specified in Information Letter 01/2006 (or any subsequently amended or updated version of this Information Letter).
Argentina: Quality Norms of the Argentine Water and Sanitation Regulator (ERAS)
Paraguay: General Law No. 1.614/2000 on the Regulatory and Tariff Framework for Drinking Water and Sanitary Sewerage Provision
UK: The Water Industry (Suppliers’ Information) Direction 2021
Internal capacities needed and the role of partners
Administrative capacity is required to develop procedures for receiving the information necessary to regulate drinking water quality. In addition, regulators must be technically skilled to understand the implications of non-compliance, which can help to set the frequency and contents of what needs to be reported.
Development partners could support regulators by organizing consultative workshops to help reach a consensus on agreed procedures. Ministries of health and civil society organizations can also support regulators through capacity building.