Managing water supply risk
Service providers have a responsibility to understand and manage risk relating to drinking water safety, and water supply security and continuity. Drinking water quality management plans provide a framework to manage risk to drinking water quality and customer safety.
Water service providers can manage water supply security through appropriate planning and maintenance, and sometimes also demand management, operational changes and infrastructure augmentation.
The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water can take action if it believes that there is an unacceptable risk to water security or continuity of the supply of a water service. This can include undertaking an investigation or requiring an improvement plan.
Appropriate water supply risk
Adequate and reliable water supplies are essential for communities' health, safety and wellbeing. Water supply risk relates to the reliability of a water service and the ability to deliver safe water to the customer.
Service providers should seek to provide sufficient, safe and reliable water to support the wellbeing of their communities (with the use of demand management and contingency water supplies as needed).
To support the wellbeing of the community, sufficient supplies should be maintained to minimise significant detrimental impacts to the economy, liveability and livelihoods of a community associated with water supply issues.
Where it is not prudent or efficient to continuously maintain sufficient supplies to support the wellbeing of a community, a provider should aim for the highest practical and affordable supply, having an appropriately low probability of not being able to meet essential water demands. Essential water demands are those relating to drinking, basic hygiene, and maintaining essential services (such as hospitals and electricity generation).
A provider should ensure that there are appropriate plans in place so that drinking water can always be maintained (resorting to bottled water in the most extreme circumstances).
Expectations of managing risk
To understand and manage risk to water supply security and continuity, a water service provider should:
- carry out asset management planning to set the overall strategy for assets and appropriately maintain and renew assets
- carry out water supply planning, including
- assessing supply reliability
- forecasting demand
- identifying key infrastructure constraints
- assessing timing for potential future water supply augmentation
- have a drought management plan that outlines how the impacts of potential drought will be managed.
We have documented what we consider to be the minimum standard for a water service provider to undertake the activities above. These standards are outlined in 3 guides:
- Drought management plans and water restriction: guideline for development (PDF, 2.1MB)
- Water supply planning: guideline for water service providers (PDF, 1.1MB)
- Asset management planning: guideline for water service providers (PDF, 908KB)
Water supply planning can also be supported by:
- establishing level of service objectives for long-term water supply security
- managing water demand through a range of measures such as
- encouraging waterwise behaviours in the community
- developing a demand management program, which may include water restrictions (read Drought management plans and water restrictions: guideline for development (PDF, 2.1MB) for more information)
- water efficiency management plans.
It's important that as a service provider, you have a clear understanding of your water supply system and the risks to supply security and continuity.
We have partnered with a number of providers to undertake an urban water security assessment.
You can also carry out your own assessment using the water security statement template (DOCX, 71KB), water security statement template guidance (PDF, 1.9MB), and water security statement worksheets (XLSX, 641KB) that we provide.
- Last reviewed: 25 Aug 2021
- Last updated: 16 Dec 2021