Safe drinking water: critical components of effective interagency relationships

Daniel Jalba, Nancy Cromar, Simon Pollard, Jeffrey Charrois, Roland Bradshaw, Steve Hrudey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    The paper supports the development of evidence-based emergency management frameworks of cooperation between agencies in the area of drinking water and public health, as part of developing the overall risk management culture within water utilities. We employed a qualitative research design to understand critical gaps in inter-agency relations that aggravated past drinking water and health incidents and from these identified determinants of effective relationships. We identified six critical institutional relationship components that were deficient in past incidents, namely proactivity, communication, training, sharing expertise, trust and regulation. We then analysed how these components are addressed by reputable water utilities and public health departments to develop positive examples of inter-agency cooperation. Control of different risks (e.g. public health, business, and reputation) resulting from drinking water incidents should employ a preventive framework similar to the multiple barrier approach for management of drinking water quality.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)51-59
    Number of pages9
    JournalEnvironment International
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010


    • Drinking water
    • Incident management
    • Inter-agency cooperation
    • Public health
    • Risk management
    • Waterborne outbreaks


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