By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Water and health experts on Sunday called for adopting a safety plan to monitor water quality and ensure the sustainability of resources.

They urged policy makers in the water and health sectors to change the management of drinking water quality from the current “reactive” to the “preventive” approach.

The experts made the remarks during a workshop organised by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Regional Centre for Environmental Health Activities with the aim of advocating a water safety plan.

Minister of Health Abdul Latif Wreikat highlighted the importance of applying a preventive and precautionary approach in water management.

“A safety plan would pinpoint weaknesses in the water supply system and apply early detection and prevention measures to prevent pollution,” he said in his opening remarks yesterday.

Such a system benefits the water supplier and operator, as well as the monitoring agencies, Wreikat noted.

“This would lead to improving the quality of drinking water, as well as reducing health hazards and financial costs for quality control,” the minister noted.

Basel Yousefi, head of the Regional Centre for Environmental Health Activities, said the safety of drinking water cannot be achieved unless authorities apply measures which prevent pollution and ensure the safety of drinking water.

He underscored that water and health sectors should review the current quality control systems, water policies and standards as well as water laws.

“… Then a new system can be formed which relies on identifying, assessing and managing hazards,” Yousefi said at the workshop, noting that WHO has a system that countries can adopt to deliver safe drinking water.

“This approach brings together risk assessment and preventive management in a framework that starts with the water resource and ends with the water consumer,” he underscored.

At the end of the week, the workshop participants are expected to come up with requirements for adopting the Water Safety Plan framework and tools for building the capacity of the water and health sectors.