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Learning from the Philippines to Advance Water Safety Planning in Indonesia

Belajar dari Filipina untuk Memajukan Rencana Pengamanan Air Minum di Indonesia

Water Safety Plans (WSP) are increasingly recognized as a cost-effective and management-oriented preventive approach to protect drinking water safety. In Indonesia, WSP were initiated in 2012 and piloted in 13 Municipal Drinking Water Companies (PDAMs) for WSP in water service operators and 10 districts for WSP in community-based water supply.

However, until 2017 the WSP replications to other PDAMs and districts were still limited. The scaling-up of the WSP initiative requires several prerequisites, such as the national WSP policy and framework, implementation strategy, and action plans.

To support the Government of Indonesia to adjust the WSP policy framework, USAID IUWASH PLUS and USAID PRESTASI (US Government supported Program to Extend Scholarships and Training to Achieve Sustainable Impacts) facilitated the national and local institutions working in the water supply sector to visit the Philippines in December 2017. The study visit allowed the participants to review the Government of Philippines’ national WSP policy, regulatory requirements, and lessons learned. The results of this study visit were then distilled into the Government of Indonesia’s WSP policy recommendations that have become the basis for on-going inter-ministerial policy discussions and WSP policy development.

While the WSP policy development process is ongoing, USAID IUWASH PLUS and USAID PRESTASI facilitated Bappenas, the Ministry of Public Works and Housing, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Indonesia Water Supply Association (Perpamsi), Agency for Improving the Implementation of Water Supply System (BPPSPAM), PDAM Malang, Bulukumba Health Office, and ITB to visit the Philippines for the second time from July 23–27, 2018. The study visit aimed to learn about the Government of Philippine’s experiences in implementing the WSP, including local government engagement, capacity building needs and their delivery mechanism, quality assurance requirements and lessons learned from the WSP implementation.

The Indonesian delegates posing with the USAID Philippines Mission Director, Lawrence Hardy II (sitting, five from the right).

This second study visit started with a one-day workshop opened by the USAID Philippines Mission Director, Lawrence Hardy II and was attended by the Philippines’ Department of Health, Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and WHO of Philippines to gain insights on the WSP policy framework and implementation, and the roles and responsibilities of the water supply providers. The Mission Director of USAID Philippines, Lawrence Hardy II, opened this workshop. In his opening remarks, he highlighted that USAID supports WSP to protect water starting from the water source. During this workshop, the representative from the WHO of Philippines also highlighted the importance of WSP in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2030 targets in access to safe water.

The workshop was followed with a visit and discussion on the WSP implementation with three water service providers in Davao city, namely Davao City Water District (DCWD) that provides water for the largest city in Mindanao; the Local Government Unit (LGU) Sta.Cruz waterworks which is contracted to a private company for 15 years; and the Island Garden City of Samal (IGACOS) Water District.

The discussion concluded that the water service providers are driven to implement the WSP to protect public health and to comply with the water quality standards. The DCWD WSP Team Lead, Hydie Maspinas, said that despite the WSP availability, the water district has a mandate to provide a safe water supply to customers. In addition, after implementing the WSP, DCWD is able to develop a robust water quality monitoring system and response procedures supported with an accredited laboratory to address water related incidences.

Further, the Local Government Unit (LGU) Sta. Cruz waterworks shared that a small water supply system can be managed professionally. The system is well maintained and has applied the Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) for water quality assurance.

Before the study visit ended, the Indonesian delegates discussed the lessons learned from the WSP implementation in the Philippines with the Department of Health, LWUA, and WSP consultants. The lessons learned included: (1) the Philippines took ten years of consultation, learning, and training before the National Policy on WSP was signed in 2014, (2) the national WSP focal persons play major roles in sustaining activities in the implementation of WSP framework and road map, and (3) at the national level, LWUA, as the representative of the major water service providers, has become the frontrunner in promoting the WSP implementation, and included WSP as one of the requirements of water utilities’ performance incentives. Other government agencies involved in the provision of safe water supply are the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) that regulates and guides private water service providers, and the DILG that oversees LGU-managed water works and community-based water systems. However, the Philippines still needs to enhance the institutional mechanism to mainstream WSP in the other water service providers.

“This study visit helps all stakeholders in water supply develop an understanding and leverage knowledge on WSP. I hope the Ministry of Home Affairs will be able to promote the right WSP concept and integrate it into the Local Government Workplan (RKPD) document, and the Regional Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMD),” said Destriana Faried, the Head of Region1 of Public Works Sub-Directorate of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Results of the two study visits to the Philippines are helpful for the Government of Indonesia to fulfill the WSP scaling-up requirements. The first study results contribute to the WSP policy adjustment in Indonesia. In addition, the second study results provide reference for the government to develop an implementation strategy and action plan to ensure the WSP policy framework is implementable and replicable.

Taking the key lessons learned from the study visit, the Indonesian delegates will develop the WSP strategy which aligns with the WSP policy framework, review the drinking water standard as regulated in Permenkes 492/2010, align the WSP manuals and guidelines, and develop advocacy message and strategy, especially for water service providers and local stakeholders.

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