Water Safety Planning is an innovative way of attaining high quality of water service provision through embracing a risk-based approach to service provision. This paper describes the water safety planning journey of Ugu District Municipality, which manages 19 formal water supply systems. The municipality adopted the Pareto 20/80 rule of targeting 20% of the areas with 80% impact in the first iteration of the WSP by targeting the systems with the greatest impact while incorporating system knowledge from all other systems and the use of an extensive hazards database. The efforts received national recognition and built teams with improved understanding of the business resulting in improved water quality management. Operationalization of the plan was the most difficult task as it requires institutionalizing best practice amidst challenges that include limited funding, lack of support from critical stakeholders, staff shortages and attrition. A dedicated champion who will be an advocate for change management, proactive stakeholder engagement and senior management commitment with corresponding financial resources, are seen as prerequisites for success. Undeniable, progressive regulations and policies set the tone and foundation and are, in most instances, the drivers for water safety.

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