Resources for Water System Operators

The following tools and resources have been developed to help water suppliers fulfill their responsibilities under the Drinking Water Protection Act and Drinking Water Protection Regulation.

Quick Jumps

Comprehensive Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Assessment Guideline

Professionals who will be conducting assessments, drinking water officers and water suppliers are the intended audiences for the Comprehensive Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Assessment Guideline (also referred to as the CS2TA). The guideline provides a structured and consistent approach to evaluating risks to drinking water and satisfying the assessment requirement under Part 3 of the Drinking Water Protection Act.

The Comprehensive Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Assessment Guideline is intended to help water suppliers develop a better understanding of the risks to drinking water safety and availability. It also can help suppliers operate more effectively in working to ensure the best possible water quality and assured quantity. The guideline can be applied under orders by a drinking water officer, or as a voluntary measure – undertaken by water suppliers wanting to understand risks to drinking water safety in their systems.

If significant risks to a water system are identified through the Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Screening Tool or by some other means, a drinking water officer can order an assessment of the water system. Drinking water officers can, at their discretion, specify that the Comprehensive Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Assessment Guideline be used to complete this assessment – either using all the modules, or taking a more targeted approach and using only the modules that will address the risks identified through the screening tool.

The Comprehensive Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Assessment Guideline is divided into an introduction and eight modules. It is important that the Introduction be reviewed first, for information on the assessment process.

Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Screening Tool

In 2004, the Province developed the Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Screening Tool (PDF, 849KB) as a secondary method for assessing risk in drinking water systems. This screening is completed by the water purveyor, either voluntarily or as required by the local drinking water officer. It is then submitted to the drinking water officer, who evaluates the results. If significant risks are identified, the drinking water officer can determine if a water supplier needs to undertake a comprehensive source-to-tap assessment to further analyze the risks.

The tool is a question-and-answer document consisting of 97 questions in the following categories:

  • administration, management, operation and water system description
  • water source
  • water treatment
  • water storage
  • distribution
  • tap water quality

Emergency Response and Contingency Planning for Small Water Systems 

The Drinking Water Protection Regulation requires all small water system operators to have an emergency response plan in case of an emergency that might pose a health threat. Emergency Response and Contingency Planning for Small Water Systems (PDF, 568KB) will help operators develop their own emergency response plan.

Guidance Document for Determining Ground Water at Risk of Containing Pathogens (GARP)

The B.C. Drinking Water Protection Regulation under section 5(2) states: “For the purposes of section 6(b) of the Act, drinking water from a water supply system must be disinfected by a water supplier if the water originates from (a) surface water, or (b) ground water that, in the opinion of a Drinking Water Officer, is at risk of containing pathogens.”

The Guidance Document for Determining Ground Water at Risk of Containing Pathogens (GARP), Version 3, September 2017 (PDF, 708KB) has been developed to help drinking water officers determine if water being drawn from a ground water source is at risk of containing pathogens. It is also intended to be used by water suppliers, professional engineers and geoscientists in investigating and assessing situations where ground water may be at risk of containing pathogen

Safe Water Supply: Vital to your Health

Safe Water Supply: Vital to your Health (PDF, 184KB) is intended to help British Columbians understand the importance of safe water supply systems (e.g., private wells). It provides information on the risks, operation and basic components of private and public small water systems, as well as how to maintain safe water quality in existing systems. 

Small Water System Guidebook

The Small Water System Guidebook (PDF, 568KB) provides advice to help water suppliers of small water systems achieve compliance with the legislation and the new Water Sustainability Act. Essentially, it is a collection of facts, instructions and tips for water supply systems serving up to 500 people. It describes the components of a small water system from source to tap, regulatory requirements, treatment objectives and more. It will help owners and operators of small water systems:

  • Assess and minimize the health risks associated with operating a drinking water system.
  • Evaluate their system.
  • Keep good records and apply due diligence.

Water System Assessment User's Guide

The Water System Assessment User’s Guide and assessment forms will help operators/owners assess their water system’s safety and security. The assessment can be done voluntarily and is designed to be completed by the operator in about one day. The tool is best used with Microsoft Excel. However, those without access can print the forms and complete the assessment manually.