The Quality Assurance (QA) system was a concept developed by the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) in response to the sub-standard quality of drinking water being supplied by the private GWS sector. The scheme envisages a user-friendly and simple system of QA, capable of ensuring quality drinking water.
Based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), an internationally agreed control system for the food and drinks sector, the QA scheme will help identify and eliminate any biological, chemical or physical properties that adversely affect water safety.
The system will be kept under continuous review and will be periodically updated to reflect emerging legislative requirements and the changing dynamics of the GWS sector, particularly in the context of upgrading treatment works and the Operation & Maintenance (O&M) contracts being negotiated as part of the Design, Build and Operate route to infrastructural development.
Implementation of the QA system will involve documenting specific procedures against corresponding checklists. The operator will be obliged to carry out record-keeping on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis.
To avail of full grant support under the Rural Water Programme, GWS are required to participate in the QA system. They must:
- Register with the NFGWS or Local Authority their intention to participate
- Have a potable drinking water supply, as of last confirmed test result
- Have in place full treatment either through an upgrade, O&M or DBO contract
- Have agreed to adopt the Charter of Rights
- Provide a signed declaration of intent
- Agree to abide by the Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) covering points of the scheme (source protection, distribution system etc.), water quality sampling, and accountability (public notification, emergency procedures etc.).
- Allow for inspection of the GWS by designated persons as part of an audit of compliance with the requirements of the QA system (as in the above mentioned SOPs).