Development of Guidelines for Best Practices in Water Quality Management for Rural Water Supplies – Based on the Water Safety Plan Approach This study is about the Rural Water Supply Schemes (RWSS) of Matara District which are managed by Community Based Organizations (CBO) and their management of the quality of water of the schemes. It is observed that implementation of best practices for management of the water quality of RWSSs is significantly low, causing many risks of contamination of the water supplied to the consumers. If the water supplied to the consumers is not safe, the purpose of the water supply is lost, as the primary objective of rural water supply schemes is to provide safe drinking water to those who do not have access to same. Therefore, there is a need for development of a guideline based on water safety plan approach for RWSSs which helps them to adopt best practices in water quality management. The study was conducted to identify most significant causes for the failure to adopt aforesaid best practices in RWSSs and it is done in two steps. First step was a pilot survey which was done by carrying out interviews with the experts of rural water supply sector to investigate the requirements and the reasons behind the failure to adapt the best practices in RWSSs. Second step was an in-depth investigation which was conducted through semi-structured interviews with stakeholders of 14 rural water supply schemes of Matara district to identify the causes leading to the failure to adopt best practices in water quality management, related to technical, environmental, institutional, social and financial aspects. Based on the interviews and field survey, information was analyzed by using descriptive statistic analysis and binomial test. The study revealed that, issues with the treatment processes, absence of checking of water quality, lack of quality control steps, lack of preventive actions for pollution and negative attitudes among the consumers are the most significant causes contributing towards the failure to adopt the best practices in water quality management of RWSSs. The study recommends adopting the set of guidelines developed in this study based on the water safety plan approach, which address the significant causes for failure to adopt best practices by the CBO’s that manage the RWSSs in the Matara District, in order to reduce the risks of contamination of the water supplied by RWSS’s. Further study is needed to generalize the guidelines to the national level, as the significance of issues related to the different climatic, topographical and social environments may vary across the country
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