Resources for water system operators
On this page
- Comprehensive Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Assessment Guideline
- Dealing with Drought and Water Scarcity: A Handbook for Water Suppliers in BC
- Drinking Water Source-to-Tap Screening Tool
- Emergency Response and Contingency Planning for Small Water Systems
- Guidance Document for Determining Ground Water at Risk of Containing Pathogens (GARP)
- Guide for Communicating with Water Users
- Guide to Emergency Response and Contingency Plans for Water Supply Systems
- Safe Water Supply: Vital to your Health
- Small Water System Guidebook
- Water System Assessment User's Guide
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.
- Title Page (PDF, 239KB)
- Introduction: Understand and Prepare for the Assessment Process (PDF, 344KB)
- Module 1: Delineate and Characterize Drinking Water Source(s) (PDF, 779KB)
- Module 2: Conduct Contaminant Source Inventory (PDF, 284KB)
- Module 3: Assess Water System Elements (PDF, 205KB)
- Module 4: Evaluate Water System Management, Operation and Maintenance Practices (PDF, 215KB)
- Module 5: Audit Water Quality and Availability (PDF, 234KB)
- Module 6: Review Financial Capacity and Governance of Water Service Agency (PDF, 208KB)
- Module 7: Characterize Risks from Source to Tap (PDF, 331KB)
- Module 8: Recommend Actions to Improve Drinking Water Protection (PDF, 192KB)
The goals and responses outlined in Dealing with Drought and Water Scarcity: A Handbook for Water Suppliers in BC (PDF, 592KB) are based on requirements brought in under the Water Sustainability Act and the Drinking Water Protection Act. The information, resources, and templates in this handbook are intended to assist water suppliers with increasing their knowledge and understanding of local water supplies, implementing conservation measures, and making decisions about appropriate actions and responses to specific drought levels.
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
- tap water quality
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.
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.
The Guide for Communicating with Water Users (PDF, 519KB) has been developed to provide direction to water suppliers on how to communicate with their water users as required by legislation and in situations requiring communication with the public. The Ministry of Health intends for this guide to improve consistency in communications issued from water suppliers. The guide describes how to develop a water supply system annual update report (Appendix A (Word, 69KB)). It also outlines expectations for public notification in case of an event that leads to a water quality advisory, a boil water notice, a do not use water notice, and a planned disturbance to the water system (Appendix B (Word, 136KB)).
Developing an emergency response and contingency plan is required for water systems and helps water suppliers respond to and recover from emergency events. This document, Guide to Emergency Response and Contingency Plans for Water Supply Systems (PDF, 624KB) supports water suppliers across the province to develop and deploy an emergency response and contingency plan. Included are templates for developing an Emergency Response and Contingency Plan (Appendix A (Word, 101KB)) and Public Notification Templates (Appendix B (Word, 136KB)). This document complements the Emergency Response and Contingency Planning for Small Water Systems developed by the B.C. Ministry of Health in 2016.
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.
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.
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.
- Water System Assessment User's Guide (PDF, 233KB)
- Water System Assessment User’s Guide: Appendices (PDF, 385KB)
- Water System Assessment: Forms (1. Hazard Assessment; 2. Risk Rating; 3. Risk Grouping)