Service activities relating to drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems — Guidelines on alternative drinking water service provision during a crisis
This document provides guidelines on alternative drinking water service (ADWS) provision during a crisis. This document addresses: a) ADWS principles and methods; b) ADWS operational planning and implementation. This document is not applicable to: 1) planned water supply interruptions forming part of drinking water utilities' normal operations; NOTE However, many of the principles and methods described can be appropriate in such circumstances. 2) drinking water supplied for the ongoing operation of key establishments and facilities during a crisis, such as hospitals, homes for the aged, schools, reception facilities and vital plants; 3) water supplied for industrial, agricultural or commercial purposes; 4) water supplied to temporary settlements such as refugee camps; 5) the development and implementation of a crisis management system for water service, which is covered by ISO 24518 and ISO/TS 24520.
Activités de service relatives aux systèmes d'alimentation en eau potable, aux systèmes d'assainissement et aux systèmes de gestion des eaux pluviales — Lignes directrices relatives à l'approvisionnement alternatif en eau potable en cas de crise
Standards Content (Sample)
Service activities relating to drinking
water supply, wastewater and
stormwater systems — Guidelines on
alternative drinking water service
provision during a crisis
Activités de service relatives aux systèmes d'alimentation en eau
potable, aux systèmes d'assainissement et aux systèmes de gestion des
eaux pluviales — Lignes directrices relatives à l'approvisionnement
alternatif en eau potable en cas de crise
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1 Scope . 1
2 Normative references . 1
3 Terms and definitions . 1
4 Principles for alternative drinking water service provision . 5
4.1 General . 5
4.2 Alternative drinking water service approaches . 5
4.2.1 General. 5
4.2.2 Using the drinking water distribution network in a non-conventional manner . 5
4.2.3 Not using the drinking water distribution network . 5
5 Planning for alt ernative drinking water service provision . 6
5.1 General . 6
5.2 Pre-planning . 6
5.2.1 Establishing individual disruption scenarios . 6
5.2.2 Pre-planning in accordance with the disruption scenario . 6
5.3 Securing resources and planning for their mobilization . 7
6 Implementation of alternative drinking water service provision . 9
6.1 General . 9
6.2 Non-conventional methods for drinking water distribution network use . 9
6.2.1 General. 9
6.2.2 Distribution of drinking water by erection of standpipes . 9
6.2.3 Recharging of isolated drinking water distribution network assets by
water tankers . 9
6.2.4 Lowering the pressure at which drinking water is supplied .10
6.3 Methods not using the drinking water distribution network .10
6.3.2 Temporary point of distribution methods .10
6.3.3 Containerized drinking water .10
6.3.4 Via a fixed water resource .11
6.3.5 Via mobile water tankers or towed bowsers .11
7 Internal and external communications .11
7.1 General .11
7.2 Preparing stakeholders in advance of a crisis involving alternative drinking water
service provision .12
7.2.1 Tailored messaging .12
7.2.2 Preparing users .12
7.2.3 Preparing key stakeholders .12
7.3 Alternative drinking water service information during a crisis .12
7.3.2 How to communicate .12
7.3.3 What to communicate .14
8 Alternative drinking water service provision for users with special needs.14
Annex A (informative) Examples of layouts of, and assets deployment at, temporary points
of distribution .16
Annex B (informative) Containerized drinking water .19
Annex C (informative) Determining drinking water allocations .27
Annex D (informative) The logistics of alternative drinking water service provision .29
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Annex E (informative) Modification of standard alternative drinking water service
processes to support users with special needs .34
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described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the
different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the
editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).
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This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 224, Service activities relating to drinking
water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems.
Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A
complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2020 – All rights reserved v
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Drinking water is fundamental to life and its distribution is considered to be an essential service.
Drinking water supply relies on systems that can be subject to disruption from internal or external
factors including operational error, lack of rehabilitation, damage to the drinking water system,
malicious acts (e.g. vandalism, criminality or terrorism) and natural disasters (e.g. earthquakes, floods,
hurricanes or volcanic eruptions).
This document is intended for drinking water utilities that normally provide a service without
interruption through a drinking water distribution network. It provides guidelines for the effective
implementation of alternative drinking water service (ADWS) provision during extended periods of
disruption to drinking water supply.
In many cases, operational and organizational processes will exist within drinking water utilities to
deal with short periods of localized interruption to drinking water distribution. However, if the service
interruption exceeds the duration or extent of anticipated events, an interruption can escalate into a
crisis at local, regional or, exceptionally, national levels.
NOTE 1 For adequacy and consistency, guidance in this document typically assumes an operational response
at a crisis level. However, the guidelines are applicable for all levels of operational incidents requiring ADWS
deployment including normal business continuity preparedness and response.
NOTE 2 For guidance on the management of crises see ISO 24518 and ISO/TS 24520.
A significant water interruption (arising from quantity and/or quality issues) can impact public and
personal health and wellbeing, and economic performance. A prolonged interruption can progressively
threaten the coherence of the community served.
The roles of relevant authorities, responsible bodies, drinking water utilities and operators can differ
between and within countries and result in different minimum requirements for ADWS provision.
Nevertheless, it is generally recommended that such organizations recognize the importance of
uninterrupted drinking water distribution, even at times of crisis for the drinking water utility, for the
wellbeing of the community served.
Drinking water utilities are encouraged to reduce the risk of water supply interruption. This is
typically achieved by a combination of good planning, design, procurement, installation, operation and
maintenance of the drinking water assets. Such measures should include the provision of an ADWS for
users during a crisis.
It is also recommended that the drinking water utility's capability to provide an ADWS will be consistent
with the maximum likely service interruption (extent and duration) identified through risk assessment.
The provision of an ADWS necessitates thorough preparation (e.g. to address planning, procurement,
logistics, control and communication), as well as awareness of the need and commitment at all levels of
the organization to be effective and efficient.
ADWS during a crisis can be provided using one of the two following principles, or both in combination:
a) using the drinking water distribution network in a non-conventional manner;
b) not using the drinking water distribution network.
This document describes the principal issues to be considered when:
1) planning for and deploying ADWS provision;
2) anticipating and addressing stakeholders’ ADWS needs and communicating with stakeholders on
ADWS planning and provision can include guidelines by responsible bodies on monitoring and control
methods. This document covers water quality issues only to the extent that they relate to drinking
water provided via an ADWS.
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INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 24527:2020(E)
Service activities relating to drinking water supply,
wastewater and stormwater systems — Guidelines on
alternative drinking water service provision during a crisis
This document provides guidelines on alternative drinking water service (ADWS) provision during
This document addresses:
a) ADWS principles and methods;
b) ADWS operational planning and implementation.
This document is not applicable to:
1) planned water supply interruptions forming part of drinking water utilities’ normal operations;
NOTE However, many of the principles and methods described can be appropriate in such circumstances.
2) drinking water supplied for the ongoing operation of key establishments and facilities during a
crisis, such as hospitals, homes for the aged, schools, reception facilities and vital plants;
3) water supplied for industrial, agricultural or commercial purposes;
4) water supplied to temporary settlements such as refugee camps;
5) the development and implementation of a crisis management system for water service, which is
covered by ISO 24518 and ISO/TS 24520.
2 Normative references
The following documents are referred to in the text in such a way that some or all of their content
constitutes requirements of this document. For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For
undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.
ISO 24513, Service activities relating to drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems —
3 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the terms and definitions given in ISO 24513 and the following apply.
ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:
— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
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alternative drinking water service
drinking water provided to users (3.15) by means other than through the normal drinking water system
Note 1 to entry: ADWS can be required due to the loss of supply or due to the fact that the water currently being
supplied is believed unfit for the intended use.
Note 2 to entry: For the purposes of this document, ADWS only refers to the supply of drinking water. There
can, however, be occasions where it is decided for public health (e.g. toilet flushing) and safety (e.g. firefighting)
reasons to temporarily supply non-drinking water via the drinking water distribution network in parallel with
containerized drinking water
drinking water (3.4) deployed in containers for ADWS (3.1) provision
EXAMPLE 1 Bottled water, pre-prepared and hygienically sealed, with a predetermined shelf-life.
EXAMPLE 2 A personal water bag, pre-prepared but empty, and filled during an incident.
EXAMPLE 3 Static water tanks; towed bowsers; mobile water tankers, disinfected and deployed, and filled
during an incident.
event or situation which affects or is likely to affect the organization or its provided services which
requires more than the usual means of operation and/or organizational structures to deal with it
DEPRECATED: potable water
water intended for human consumption
Note 1 to entry: Requirements for drinking water quality specifications are generally laid down by the national
relevant authorities (3.10). Guidelines have been established by the World Health Organization (WHO).
drinking water allocation
daily per-capita drinking water (3.4) quota to be supplied to users during ADWS (3.1) provision
Note 1 to entry: The relevant authority (3.10), the responsible body (3.11) or the drinking water utility (3.7) (in the
absence of guidance from the relevant authority or responsible body) can determine drinking water allocation(s)
for categories of user (3.15).
Note 2 to entry: Drinking water allocations can differ between categories of user and can exclude some categories
Note 3 to entry: The size of drinking water allocations can be varied at different times during the crisis (3.3).
EXAMPLE Per-capita domestic user in first 12 h of crisis response; per-capita per-day domestic user after
first 12 h; per-capita per-day special needs user.
drinking water distribution network
asset system for distributing drinking water (3.4)
Note 1 to entry: Drinking water distribution network can include pipes, valves, hydrants, pumping stations and
reservoirs, and other metering and ancillary infrastructure and components.
Note 2 to entry: Pumping stations and reservoirs can be sited either in the waterworks or in the drinking water
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drinking water utility
whole set of organization, processes, activities, means and resources necessary for abstracting,
treating, distributing or supplying drinking water (3.4) and for providing the associated services
Note 1 to entry: Some key features for a drinking water utility are:
— its mission, to provide drinking water services;
— its physical area of responsibility and the population within this area;
— its responsible body (3.11);
— the general organization with the function of operator being carried out by the responsible body, or by legally
— the type of physical systems used to provide the services, with various degrees of centralization.
Note 2 to entry: The term “drinking water utility” addresses a utility dealing only with drinking water.
Note 3 to entry: When it is not necessary or it is difficult to make a distinction between responsible body and
operator, the term “drinking water utility” covers both.
Note 4 to entry: In common English, “drinking water service” can be used as a synonym for “drinking water
utility”, but this document does not recommend using the term in this way.
situation where the service is not available or only partially available
Note 1 to entry: Interruptions can be planned or unplanned.
coordinated activities to direct and control a drinking water utility (3.7)
Note 1 to entry: Management can include establishing policies and objectives, and processes to achieve these
Note 2 to entry: The word “management” sometimes refers to people, i.e. a person or group of people with
authority and responsibility for the conduct and control of a service. When “management” is used in this sense, it
should always be used with some form of qualifier to avoid confusion with the concept “management” as a set of
activities defined above. For example, “management should…” is deprecated whereas “crisis management team
should…” is acceptable. Otherwise, different words should be adopted to convey the concept when related to
people, for example managerial or managers.
Note 3 to entry: The term “management” can be qualified by a specific domain it addresses. Examples include
public health management, environmental management and risk management.
organization with appropriate statutory powers of control
EXAMPLE National, regional or local governments, public agencies, regulators.
Note 1 to entry: Relevant authority is a category of stakeholder (3.13).
Note 2 to entry: For a given drinking water utility (3.7) there can be several relevant authorities, which have
jurisdiction in different domains.
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body that has the overall legal responsibility for providing drinking water (3.4), wastewater or
stormwater services for a given geographic area
EXAMPLE A local or municipal government (e.g. for a village, town or city), a regional government, a national
or federal government through a specified agency or a private company.
Note 1 to entry: Responsible body is a category of stakeholder (3.13).
Note 2 to entry: The responsible body can be legally distinct, or not, from the operator(s). The responsible body
can be public or private.
Note 3 to entry: The responsible body acts within a framework of law and governance established by the relevant
authorities. It generally establishes the strategy, the specific policies adapted to the characteristics of its area of
responsibility and the general organization of the relevant water utility.
Note 4 to entry: The responsible body can operate the water utility directly with its own means through an
internal operator (direct or internal management (3.9) or “in house”) or entrust one or several operators for the
operations (“outsourced” or contracted management).
local geographic area where an organization has the legal or contractual responsibility to provide
Note 1 to entry: The service area can be established, for example, by political boundaries (e.g. citywide utility),
legislative action (e.g. formation of a utility district) or interjurisdictional agreements (e.g. intercity agreements
to provide wastewater services).
person or organization that can affect, be affected by, or perceive itself to be affected by a decision or
EXAMPLE Users (3.15) and building owners, relevant authorities (3.10), responsible bodies (3.11), operators,
employees of the operator, external product suppliers and providers of other services, contractors, communities,
customers and environmental associations, financial institutions, scientific and technical organizations,
Note 1 to entry: Stakeholders will typically have an interest in the performance or success of an organization.
Note 2 to entry: For the application of this document, environment is considered as a specific stakeholder.
temporary point of distribution
temporary interface where the user (3.15) can access an alternative drinking water service
person, group or organization that benefits from drinking water (3.4) delivery and related services,
wastewater service activities, stormwater service activities or reclaimed water delivery and related
Note 1 to entry: Users are a category of stakeholder (3.13).
Note 2 to entry: Users can belong to various economic sectors: domestic, institutional, commercial, industrial or
resource exploitation (e.g. agricultural, forestry, mining).
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Note 3 to entry: The term “consumer” can also be used, but in most countries the term “user” is more frequent
when referring to public services.
Note 4 to entry: For the purpose of this document the term only refers to individuals and not organizations.
4 Principles for alternative drinking water service provision
In order to determine its ADWS provision, a drinking water utility should first have a clear
understanding of its normal operation during typical (non-crisis) circumstances.
During a crisis involving an interruption to drinking water distribution, the drinking water utility
should ensure an ADWS is provided to users and also ensure that assets which are intended to be used
in contact with drinking water are authorized by the relevant authority. Such assets could include
cleaned and disinfected drinking water containers.
Ideally, users should only take containerized drinking water according to predetermined drinking
water allocation(s), see Annex C. However, in practice, with high user demand and limited drinking
water utility resources available to control the issuing of drinking water, this can be difficult to achieve.
The drinking water utility's pre-planning of issuing drinking water should aim to ensure a suitable
level of control, including a contingency for excessive withdrawals. Inability to exercise such control can
lead to legitimate users' needs remaining unfulfilled. This can have consequences, including a decline
in ADWS service levels and financial and reputational impacts. Drinking water utilities can encourage
users to exercise restraint by providing adequate public information both in advance of and during a
crisis (see Clause 7).
The required water quality for ADWS provision is determined by the relevant authorities and/or
responsible bodies. However, the possible need to distribute non-drinking water through the drinking
water distribution network (if necessary, and in parallel with ADWS) should also be recognized. Such
a measure can be necessary for public health (e.g. toilet flushing) and public safety (e.g. firefighting)
reasons. In such circumstances, the water usage constraints that need to be complied with should be
strongly emphasized through stakeholder communications.
4.2 Alternative drinking water service approaches
The drinking water utility can adopt one or both of the ADWS approaches described in 4.2.2 and 4.2.3.
4.2.2 Using the drinking water distribution network in a non-conventional manner
This approach involves the drinking water utility supplying drinking water to users via the drinking
water distribution network but using different means than the regular operational methods.
Proven methods of ADWS provision using the distribution network in a non-conventional manner are
described in 6.2.
4.2.3 Not using the drinking water distribution network
This approach involves temporary points of distribution (TPDs) being established throughout the
affected service area. Examples of TPD methods are described in Annex A. The drinking water utility