Mainstreaming Water Safety Plans in ADB Water Sector Projects: Lessons and Challenges

Publication | December 2014

The Water Safety Plan is about protecting water quality from catchment to the tap.

  • US$16.00 (hardcopy)

Promoted by the World Health Organization, the Water Safety Plan (WSP) has changed the way water supply systems are managed. This report documents the pilot application of the guidance note for mainstreaming WSP in water projects supported by ADB as piloted in the Chongqing Municipality in the Peoples’ Republic of China. The guidance note seeks to promote systematic assessment and management of water safety risks from infrastructure construction to operation. The pilot concluded that WSP could be effectively integrated into ADB's project preparation with careful scoping, planning, and evaluation. The report also summarizes challenges and lessons learned from the pilot.

Key Points

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has been promoting Water Safety Plans (WSPs) since 2004. The WSPs are becoming the international good practice for assessing and managing public health risks from drinking water supplies.
  • A key conclusion from the pilot demonstration activity in Chongqing Municipality, People’s Republic of China was that WSPs could be effectively integrated into the project preparation of ADB with careful scoping, planning, and evaluation.
  • Lessons from the pilot demonstration activity include selecting appropriate WSP guidance, identifying target water quality, and introducing the WSP concept early in the project.
  • Potential challenges for ADB-funded projects are mismatched WSP and project scopes, complex economic and financial evaluations of avoided public health risks, and long-term sustainability of the WSP.
  • Various trainings and reference materials are available to address general challenges of WSP implementation. Challenges specific to ADB can only be addressed by accumulating more WSP experience and successful cases in ADB.


  • Why Water Safety Plans are Important for ADB Water Projects
  • Overview of Water Safety Plan
  • Experience from the Chongqing Urban–Rural Infrastructure Development Demonstration II Project in the People’s Republic of China
  • Lessons and Challenges Identified through the Water Safety Plan Pilot Application
  • References

Additional Details

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Water Resource Management
  • China, People's Republic of
  • TIM147047-2
  • 978-92-9254-853-7 (Print)
  • 978-92-9254-854-4 (e-ISBN)

Subscribe to our monthly digest of latest ADB publications.

Follow ADB Publications on social media.