Water Journal : Water Journal July 2012
feature articles 42 JULY 2012 water Water Quality Research Australia (WQRA) Workshop What's Bugging You? The Emergence of Pathogen X WQRA CEO Jodieann Dawe opened this workshop. Andrew Bath of Water Corporation, David Cunliffe from SA Health, Mark O'Donohue from National Centre of Excellence in Water Recycling, and Martha Sinclair of Monash University, provided a short overview of their backgrounds and perspectives on recent developments in drinking water quality management and policy. Of these, possibly O'Donohue provided the most controversial insight to his views by aligning himself firmly in the camp supporting the value of guidelines as flexible and continually evolving documents, setting targets for meeting drinking water quality goals while allowing for the easy incorporation of new scientific knowledge as it emerged. He argued that such an approach via essentially a 'living' documentary process has multiple advantages over the more limited and constrained environment that pertains when mandatory regulations are imposed. The single international guest on the discussion panel was Dr Joan Rose from Michigan University in the US. A public health microbiologist by trade, Rose has a long history of contributions to the field of quantitative microbial risk assessment practice. Over the past eight years, her work in Michigan has centred on recreational water quality. Rose described some of the new monitoring and genotyping techniques now being used for these purposes: chip technology, nanogenomics and analyses undertaken in combination with data from epidemiology. This data is identifying the increasing role of multiple forms and types of viruses, seasonal patterns of their occurrence and the ease of spread from animals to other species. Recombinant species with altered resistance to disinfecting agents are now beginning to appear. Attention was drawn to the need for more information on the shedding of viruses by various species. More data is needed on microbial source transport routes (especially in regard to integrated water systems and non point sources), tracking and survival, dose response and transmission routes between species. The discussion was followed with questions from the audience seeking to tease out issues associated with monitoring and testing to identify causal agents. WASH Workshop Water Safety Planning -- The Planning Is In Your Hands! WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Developing Communities) Specialist Network hosted an informative interactive workshop on Water Safety Plans for developing communities in the Asia-Pacific Region. The workshop engaged 30 participants who brought knowledge and experience from a range of water professionals, including regulators from NSW and Victoria, American Water Works Association representatives, consultants and utility staff. A Water Safety Plan (WSP) is a comprehensive, systematic hazard assessment and risk management approach that looks at the entire water supply system from catchment to consumer. The approach is endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as part of the Framework for Safe Drinking Water under the Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality (2004, 2011). The objectives of the workshop were to: • Provide an overview of WSP tools; • Identify successes and challenges in the implementation of WSPs in developing communities, using case studies from East Timor, the Philippines, Vietnam, Nepal and the NT; • Workshop through three distinctive areas that challenge WSP adoption; and, • Provide opportunities for Australian water professionals to become further involved in WSPs. Presentations Presenters offered an interesting combination of insights and experiences. These included case studies on grass-roots efforts at building capacity on developing and implementing WSPs in a number of countries. They also outlined international program initiatives and provided an opportunity for feedback and support. David Sutherland (Regional Coordinator for the Asia- Pacific Region, WHO, Bangkok and Thailand) provided an overview of WHO's global WSP initiative, with particular regard to WSPs in the Asia-Pacific Region. David explained how the WSPs are key mechanisms in the long-term partnerships between WHO and agencies such as AusAID and regional development banks such as the Asian Development Bank. Mien Ling Chong (WSP Network Coordinator, WHO, Manila and Philippines) outlined the development and role of the Asia-Pacific WSP Network. The objectives of the network are to effectively advocate WSP, communicate with target groups, and research and facilitate implementation. The network portal contains information on developing and implementing a WSP with training modules, tools and case studies. To access the portal visit www.wsportal.org David and Mien Ling outlined the various ways Australian experts can get involved, such as in project design, training trainers, advisory support, individual assessment and recommendations, research and study tours. Kathryn Green (Project Manager Water Plans, Power and Water Corporation, NT) provided practical case studies from her work on water safety planning in small rural water supplies in Nepal through Engineers Without Borders, and in the Northern Territory through funding from the National Water Commission and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Regional Services. This included the adoption of the Community Water Planner and Field Guide in remote Indigenous communities and the challenges, successes and lessons learnt from both projects. Asoka Jayaratne (Water Quality Specialist, Yarra Valley Water/WHO, Melbourne, Australia) also provided case studies that explored challenges such as catchment management issues where no single body has responsibility for management. These were drawn from experiences with urban water utilities in Vietnam, India and the Philippines, and provided a different perspective on working with water providers and utilities in urban contexts. Ozwater'12 Special Report David Sutherland, WHO.
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