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Whither regulation, risk and water safety plans? Case studies from Malaysia and from England and Wales

journal contribution
posted on 12.10.2020 by Simon Pollard, Hafizah Hasan, Alison Parker

We explore the interplay between preventative risk management and regulatory style for the implementation of water safety plans in Malaysia and in England and Wales, two jurisdictions with distinct philosophies of approach. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 water safety professionals in Malaysia, 23 in England and Wales, supported by 6 Focus Group Discussions (n=53 participants). A grounded theory approach produced insights on the transition from drinking water quality surveillance to preventative risk management. Themes familiar to this type of regulatory transition emerged, including concerns about compliance policy; overseeing the risk management controls of regulatees with varied competencies and funds available to drive change; and the portfolio of interventions suited to a more facilitative regulatory style. Because the potential harm from waterborne illness is high where pathogen exposures occur, the transition to risk-informed regulation demands mature organisational cultures among water utilities and regulators, and a laser-like focus on ensuring risk management controls are delivered within water supply systems.

Funding

International Centre for Infrastructure Futures (ICIF)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

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