A Water Safety Plan (WSP) is a preventive, risk management approach to ensure drinking water safety. This emerging methodology is being increasingly applied in both industrialized and lower income countries worldwide. In 2006, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other local, national, and international partners in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) initiated a series of WSP demonstration projects. The objectives were to raise WSP awareness, build capacity, and promote adoption of the WSP approach while identifying those factors that aid or hinder water safety planning efforts in resource-challenged settings. This paper presents eleven lessons learned from these WSP demonstration projects, including the importance of assembling a well-supported interagency team, long-term commitment to WSP implementation, adherence to a water quality monitoring plan, and determining how WSP impacts will be evaluated prior to WSP initiation. To assist in supporting future WSP activity in the region, this paper shares experiences that led to these successes, challenges, and lessons learned.
Keywords: Caribbean, drinking water, Latin America, lessons learned, water quality, Water Safety Plans