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Making waves: how do we prepare for the next drinking water disaster?


Curnin, S and Brooks, B, Making waves: how do we prepare for the next drinking water disaster?, Water Research, 185 Article 116277. ISSN 0043-1354 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Elsevier

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.watres.2020.116277


There is a societal expectation that drinking water owners and operators will successfully manage drinking water quality incidents, so they do not become a disaster. However, human errors have contributed to causing and worsening drinking water quality incidents worldwide. Personnel tasked with managing drinking water quality incidents need to be prepared. This preparation often occurs in exercises that simulate how a team would respond to a drinking water quality incident. It is our opinion that exercises simulating drinking water quality incidents must shift from a design that is primarily to simulate an intervention, to one that promotes conditions for learning and enhances the human-centric capabilities of those involved. Traditional exercises invariably seek to test the response to a water quality incident and the actions of those involved, often for regulatory purposes. This approach is necessary but can also provide a negative experience for the exercise participants as their actions are frequently scrutinised after the exercise. We offer a strategy to complement traditional approaches to drinking water quality exercises. Central to this is the inclusion of structured training sessions that provide guidance and support throughout an exercise. This can foster a strong learning environment than exercises or training sessions alone. The benefit to water owners and operators is enhanced preparedness and potential mitigation of future drinking water quality disasters

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:disasters, human capability, human factors, water quality
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Public administration
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Curnin, S (Dr Steven Curnin)
UTAS Author:Brooks, B (Associate Professor Benjamin Brooks)
ID Code:140404
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2020-08-13
Last Modified:2021-02-17

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