The Quality Assurance (QA) system was a concept developed by the National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) in association with the National Rural Water Monitoring Committee (NRWMC) in 2002 in response to the sub-standard quality of drinking water being supplied by the GWS sector. This system was updated in 2007 on foot of the new regulations and legislation introduced in that year. QA includes a range of responses to hazards that arise or may potentially arise at critical control points from catchment/source to tap. It also includes checklists of control measures at each critical control point that provided reassurance that control measures are effective. Implementation of the QA system, therefore, helps to ensure the delivery of a safe and wholesome drinking water supply.
Based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), an internationally agreed control system for the food and drinks sector, the QA system has been periodically updated since 2007 to reflect emerging legislative requirements and the changing dynamics of the GWS sector.
Training in the QA system began in 2008 and more than 400 group water schemes completed the initial course. In recent years, publication of a QA Implementation manual by the NFGWS provided the basis for a new and updated training course that equips schemes to develop their own scheme-specific QA documentation.
Operational subsidy support at 100% (up to the maximum) is provided under the Rural Water Programme towards QA implementation and completion of the training course.