Improving water safety planning: Data to decisions’ – case studies from Uganda and Rwanda

Start date

January 2021

End date

July 2021


The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal of clean water and sanitation target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. Improving the safe management water safety planning (WSP) of drinking-water systems provide an opportunity to make significant contributions to public health and well-being, address inequities and improve livelihoods.

Much of the global population receives drinking-water from small water systems that range from individual household wells to piped supplies. However, small systems face specific challenges that impact their ability to deliver safe and adequate drinking-water. WSP in the form of risk assessment addresses some of these challenges but UN reporting shows acquired data on these systems often does not inform decision-making about their management. We will explore this issue through revision of risk assessments for small supplies and investigation of effective collection and use of data to inform policy making and improve access to and quality of small drinking-water supplies in Uganda and Rwanda.

Aims and objectives

Using two case studies where national data shows unsafe water and yet corrective action does not result, as evidenced by UN Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) report, we will investigate effective collection, use and impact of data to inform practice and drive corrective action for small water systems.

The objectives are:

  1. Identify the quality/quantity of drinking-water available to households using small supplies
  2. Identify what data is collected, drivers and application to inform practice
  3. Support WHO in revising global risk assessment forms for small systems
  4. Facilitate the improved management of small water systems.

Funding amount





The project will have high global impact through the outputs:

  • Case study results from Uganda and Brazil will contribute to a chapter in the WHO small drinking-water supplies’ policy guidance and supporting tools document (2021)
  • Risk assessment forms will be published in the global WHO Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality (2021). These are used as tools to undertake risk assessment and management of small supplies as part of the Water Safety Planning approach
  • Publication to report case-study findings from a low and upper middle income countries
  • Training course to aid management of small supplies.

Research themes

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