Improving Drinking Water Monitoring in Croatia
The accreditation supports monitoring of drinking water in Croatia through the accreditation of drinking water testing laboratories that are further authorised by the Croatian Ministry of Health (MoH) for drinking water monitoring. With its accredited laboratories, the Croatian Institute of Public Health (CIPH) coordinates monitoring. It is also one of the national contact points for SDG 6 as well as for UNECE – WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health, whose basic goal is to ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
Accreditation provides confidence in the technical competence of a laboratory to carry out drinking water analyses and as such ensures that the most appropriate methodologies and rigour are applied to the assessment process of drinking water safety.
This synergy of roles of CIPH on drinking water monitoring and SDG 6 gives an opportunity to identify the current public health needs of the population related to drinking water, anticipate future trends and provide preconditions for their effective management, with the main goal of assurance of safe drinking water delivery to all Croatian residents, as well as preserving and improving the health of the population.
Croatian National legislation on drinking water quality is based on the European Drinking Water Directive (DWD), which establishes the monitoring programme and parameters (microbiological, chemical and indicator) that need to be measured in order to protect human health from the adverse effects of any pollution of water for human consumption. However, on some levels Croatian legislation is stricter than DWD and also prescribes measurements of parameters that are not prescribed by the DWD but which are considered important to monitor by the national experts.
Public health laboratories (20) are authorised by the MoH to analyse samples taken at consumers’ taps as a part of monitoring programme that is defined by the CIPH and approved by the MoH. Laboratories need to be accredited according to the HRN EN ISO/IEC:17025 standard. In addition to methods that are accredited, it is possible to obtain authorisation from the MoH for additional methods if laboratories perform method validation, calculate measurement uncertainty and successfully participate in the proficiency testing schemes.
Conformity assessment of drinking water samples is extremely important for the protection of human health. When the conformity assessment is not prescribed by law, a binary statement for a simple acceptance rule according to ILAC-G8: 09/2019 Guidelines on Decision Rules and Statements of Conformity is applied.
Results and impact
Drinking water monitoring results indicate that drinking water quality supplied through public water supply systems is safe for 87.8% of Croatian residents. However, a small portion of residents (1.6%) are connected to small community water supply systems that deliver water that is very often microbiologically unsafe. Thus, in Croatia, as in many other countries, it has been shown that small systems carry the greatest public health risk.
Independent drinking water surveillance is essential for public health. Further associated activities in Croatia will aim to improve effective drinking water surveillance that will be aligned with risk-based principles, including prioritization of monitoring parameters and surveillance efforts based on water safety plan outcomes. The role of the accreditation is very important in this process since reliable analytical results are the basis for any risk-based approach that aims to assure drinking water safety and public health.
Magdalena Ujević Bošnjak, BSc, PhD, scientific assistant
Head of the Department for Water Safety and Supply
CROATIAN INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Rockefellerova 7, HR-10000 Zagreb, Croatia, www.hzjz.hr
T. +385 1 4863 219 F. +385 1 4683 009
E. firstname.lastname@example.org M.+385 91 799 6068