October 13th, 2008 the Water Safety Plan Network for Latin
America and the Caribbean - WSP/LAC NETWORK was officially
launched during the AIDIS´ XXXI Congress of Sanitary
and Environmental Engineering in Santiago de Chile.
The conformation of this network was an initiative born
from the alliance between the Pan American Health Organization
(PAHO), the U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
whose in 2004 decided to promote the method set out by the
World Health Organization called “Water Safety Plans”,
seeking to assure a supply of acceptable drinking-water.
Other organizations like the Inter-American Sanitary and
Environmental Engineering Association (AIDIS), the International
Water Association (IWA) and UN-HABITAT joined this initiative
in order to support and promote the implementation of Water
Safety Plans in cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The WSP/LAC NETWORK’s main goal is to promote
the improvement of drinking-water supply system in the region
through the implementation and accelerated development of
the Water Safety Plans.
WATER SAFETY PLANS
The Water Safety Plans (WSP) or Planes de Seguridad
del Agua (PSA in spanish) synthesize one of the
main objectives of the World Health Organization in relation
to the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene in terms
of health and development. WSP constitute the most effective
way to systematically guarantee the safety of drinking-water
through an integral approach on evaluation and risk management.
This involves all the stages of the water supply systems,
, from the catchment to its arrival to the consumer.
This approach is based on principles and concepts applied
on other risk management systems, particularly on the multiple
barrier system, source’s protection and Hazard Analysis
and Critical Control Points (HACCP) applied on the food
According to the World Health Organization, access to safe
drinking-water is essential for life and every person should
have a satisfactory, sufficient, innocuous and accessible
supply available. Improvements on the accessibility of drinking-water
provide tangible benefits on health issues which is why
the maximum effort should be pursued in assuring the safest
THE NETWORK’S ROLE
The network’s will develop according to the Strategic
Plan and Action Plan 2008-2010, elaborated and reviewed
on a joint effort between representatives of 12 countries
from the Latin America and Caribbean region, gathered in
San Pedro Sula, Honduras on April 9 and 10, 2008.
The Strategic Plan defines
on one hand the mission, ruling principles and goals. On
the other hand, it defines the network’s organization
and structure, operation rules as well as the resources
required for its two first years of operation.
The Plan of Action anticipates the initial execution of
activities oriented to create a network of professionals
of the region besides the promotion of the development and
implementation of PSA with the ample participation of its
members. The Plan of Action is based on the four objectives
indicated in the Strategic Plan:
WHAT WILL THE WSP/LAC NETWORK
The network will seek to promote and facilitate the inclusion
of the WSP as part of national water strategies along
with its implementation by water providers.
Concerns a forum and vehicle to actively exchange information
and knowledge about the implementation of WSP in the region.
The network will promote and support investigation and
evaluation of the different interventions and implementations
of the WSP.
The network will seek to empower those in charge of the
drinking-water supply management, including public health
and environment authorities, water providers, the private
sector, the industry and consumers.
Initially the Network attempts to offer:
WSP/LAC NETWORK BOARD OF DIRECTORS
updated information and knowledge exchange channel on WSP
Accessibility to technical and scientific documentation
Online discussion forums of experiences and learned lessons
Diffusion of events, conferences and news related to WSP
Participation on teleconferences and virtual meetings
/ WHO (Pan American Health Organization / World Health Organization)
Ricardo Torres, Regional Advisor on Water Quality, CEPIS/SDE/WHO
Bruce Gordon, Environmental Risks Evaluation and Management
Program for Health, WHO / Geneva
(U.S Centre for Disease Control and Prevention)
Rick Gelting, Manager Water Programs, Environmental Health
Services Branch / National Center for Environmental Health
Brian Hubbard, Scientist
USEPA (U.S Environmental Protection Agency)
Stephanie Adrian, Manager International Water Programs,
International Affairs Office.
(Inter-American Sanitary and Environmental Engineering Association)
Rafael Dautant, President
Rafael Bastos and Mirna Argueta - Directors DIAGUA Interamericana
(International Water Association)
Tom Williams, Programmes Officer
UN-HABITAT ((United Nations Human Settlements Programme)
Tomas Lopez, Programme Officer, Global Water Operators Partnership
Victor Arroyo Carmena, Chief Technical Advisor, Regional Office for LAC