Guidelines to ensure water supply during a crisis

Friday, 28 August, 2015

To help water utilities prepare for and continue to operate during disasters, ISO (International Organization for Standardization) has published ISO 24518.

The standard looks at the steps utilities have to take in order to be ready for any crisis situation; what to do during an emergency; and how to re-establish services and learn from the situation. It is said to be the first document to deal with crisis management in water utilities.

The standard will help water utilities to ensure adequate quantity and quality of water supply, sanitation, operation of supply and sewage systems, and response and recovery in emergencies. It outlines the fundamentals of a crisis management system to prepare water utilities so they can:

  • cope with crisis situations to be able to ensure water supply and the removal and treatment of wastewater;
  • cooperate with all the authorities concerned;
  • consider the natural environment, as well as the impact on the health and wellbeing of the population;
  • effectively communicate with the public to mitigate or prevent panic.

ISO 24518 can be used by water authorities and departments at various levels, water corporations and other bodies dealing with water supply, crisis management organisations, water engineers and consultants. It has recommendations for water utilities and examples of relevant national authorities’ experience in crisis management.

“Regulators can rely on the standard when drafting and adopting a national policy to reduce risk and increase resilience in the water industry,” said Jacobo Sack, the convenor of the working group that developed ISO 24518. “ISO 24518 can contribute to the effective implementation of emergency management tools.”

The standard was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 224 on service activities relating to drinking water supply systems and wastewater systems. It can be bought from your national ISO member or through the ISO Store.

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