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News - Historic

On 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.


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 industry.

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 drinking-water possible.


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:

  1. Advocacy. 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.
  2. Communication. Concerns a forum and vehicle to actively exchange information and knowledge about the implementation of WSP in the region.
  3. Research. The network will promote and support investigation and evaluation of the different interventions and implementations of the WSP.
  4. Implementation. 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:
  • An 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
  • Case studies

PAHO / 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

CDC (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.

AIDIS (Inter-American Sanitary and Environmental Engineering Association)

  • Rafael Dautant, President
  • Rafael Bastos and Mirna Argueta - Directors DIAGUA Interamericana

IWA (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
Contact us
María del Carmen Portillo, Coord.
(511) 998-555812
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