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The Water Safety Continuum
Best practice for managing drinking water quality is now accepted to be the use of Health Based Targets (HBTs). This approach is based on the fact that pathogenic microorganisms pose the greatest risk of water-borne disease, and that assessing and managing that risk holds the key to controlling water quality.
The introduction of a HBT for microbial water quality in Australia has the potential benefi t for water providers of providing a mechanism for determining the adequacy of water treatment processes and setting consistent operational performance targets. The most likely HBT to be adopted is the World Health Organisation (WHO) target of one micro DALY PPPY.
This is the best metric to quantify disease burden, but it is a diffi cult concept to understand, and there is no ‘feel’ currently for the consequences if the HBT is not met. The water industry can appreciate the advantages of a HBT, but has concerns about how it will be interpreted and applied by health and other regulators in Australia.
In 2012, WSAA set up a working group to advise on the use of HBTs. The group developed a concept known as the Water Safety Continuum to improve drinking water quality outcomes for consumers and to help understand the consequences of not meeting the HBT.
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