Partnership for Safe Water Program

About the Program

The Partnership for Safe Water program utility membership collectively serves a total population of over 100 million people, or two-thirds of the U.S. population using surface water as their source of drinking water. The Partnership for Safe Water is sponsored by the following major drinking water organizations:

  • American Water Works Association (AWWA)
  • Association of Metropolitan Water Agency (AMWA)
  • Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA)
  • National Association of Water Companies (NAWC)
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Water Works Research Foundation (WRF)

The goals of the Partnership for Safe Water include:

  • Cooperative partnering between regulatory agencies, water suppliers, and the public
  • Improved public health protection above and beyond EPA regulations
  • Recognition for supplying a high quality drinking water with tenacity toward improved public health protection

Phases of the Program

The four phases of the Partnership Program are as follows:

  1. Written commitment to program requirements for Phases 1, 2, and 3
  2. Collection of required water quality data in standardized Partnership format
  3. Submit utility Self-Assessment Report to be reviewed by Partnership's Performance Effectiveness Assessment Committee
  4. Final "voluntary" phase requirements include an assessment of the participating water utility by an independent team of investigators, following the updated Comprehensive Performance Evaluation protocol, which is part of the National Composite Correction Program that has been in place since 1988

Program Formation

The Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee in 1993 certainly raised the awareness of the susceptibility of drinking water to protozoan contamination. Many water utilities began a critical review of their operating procedures related to protecting the public from microbial pathogens. Formation of the voluntary Partnership for Safe Water Program in 1995 allowed a standardized procedure to be applied in the assessment of surface water treatment facilities on a national scale.

It was equally important for the regulatory community and water suppliers to proactively work together on this Cryptosporidium threat, realizing that federal legislation was not the immediate solution, due to the analytical difficulties in reliably testing, and enumerating the viability of this specific organism.