Overview of standards/guidelines and current practices for vulnerability assessment of drinking water security in the European Union

Folder: Chemical and Biological (CB) Risks to Drinking Water
Publication date: 
Monday, June 20, 2016


The assets associated with the production and supply of drinking water are regarded as critical infrastructure (CI) that must be protected against a wide range of incidents that could compromise its integrity. Of concern are those incidents that occur infrequently and often with little or no prior warning and have the potential to cause major contamination or disrupt the supply of drinking water.
Member States have included the security of water supply in their national security plans and have conducted vulnerability assets. Organisational responsibility rests with different government departments depending on the country. Several countries reported conducting research at the national level aimed at safeguarding water supply.
Several organisations within the European Commission have implemented action at EU level and Comité Européen de Normalisation (CEN) have several working groups concerned with security and water supplies in particular. In addition, a considerable number of research projects have been funded by the Commission.
The assessment is of a very fragmented structure for critical infrastructure protection (CIP) with the European Union. There appears to be overlapping in responsibility for drinking water security between different organisations, which to a certain extent would be expected because of the wide variety of threats that could potentially compromise the integrity of a water supply system.
This review has not yet covered all Member States, but it is intended to act as an active document that will be periodically revised to take account of new developments. The information will be used to support the ongoing work of the Thematic Group for Chemical and Biological Risks to Drinking Water with the development of its programme of work aimed at managing chemical and microbiological risks.