Challenges in the implementation of Water Safety Plans in rural, community-managed
water supplies w/ Gabrielle String, PhD, Postdoctoral Scholar @ Tufts University
Water Safety Plans (WSPs) are internationally recommended risk assessment and management strategies for water delivery. However, documented outcomes and impacts from WSP implementations are lacking, particularly for rural, community-managed water supplies. This talk will introduce the concept of WSPs and their importance in the context of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It will highlight the challenges of using WSPs in community-managed water supplies by presenting an evaluation we completed in four countries using a mixed-methods protocol of WSP quality assessment, household surveying, source and stored household water quality sampling, key informant interviews, and focus group discussions. Key results from 817 household surveys, 1,113 water quality samples, and 256 interviews and discussions will be summarized and global themes highlighted. Overall, we found: 1) incomplete WSP implementations; 2) no documented microbiological water quality improvements from WSPs; and, 3) minor improvements in water supply operations. Based on our findings, the talk will conclude with recommendations for WSP implementers and for researchers evaluating the impact of WSPs.
Dr. Gabrielle String is currently a postdoctoral scholar for the Lantagne Group in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University. She completed her BS in Mechanical Engineering at Clarkson University and her MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Tufts University, where her dissertation examined community and household level approaches to drinking water supply in low resource settings. During her tenure at Tufts, she was trained at NASA Marshall in imaging techniques, which she used to analyze micro-Computed Tomography scans of ceramic pot water filters to characterize their pore networks. Dr. String has also worked on projects evaluating water systems in development and emergency contexts for UNICEF, charity: water, USAID OFDA, and R2HC. In her spare time, she enjoys escaping Boston with a hike or paddle, attempting to ride motorcycles, winning softball championships, and baking.