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ISO 24518:2015 drinking water and wastewater services

ISO 24521:2016 Drinking water and wastewater services

What is ISO 24518:2015 Activities relating to drinking water and wastewater services — Crisis management of water utilities?

ISO 24518:2015 drinking water and wastewater services standard is focused on the crisis management of water utilities. This standard provides guidelines and best practices for water utilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from crises that affect the availability or quality of drinking water and wastewater services. The standard aims to ensure that water utilities can effectively manage disruptions and hazards, such as natural disasters, chemical spills, and infrastructure failures, in a way that minimizes impact on public health and safety.

The standard outlines the requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining, and continually improving a crisis management system for water utilities. This includes:
  • Identification of Risks and Vulnerabilities: The standard encourages organizations to identify the potential risks that can affect water and wastewater services and assess the impact of these risks.
  • Crisis Planning and Preparation: Organizations are urged to develop crisis management plans that detail the steps to be taken before, during, and after a crisis event.
  • Coordination and Communication: Effective communication channels should be set up with stakeholders such as governmental agencies, public, and employees. ISO 24518:2015 provides guidance on how to facilitate this.
  • Resource Allocation and Training: Adequate resources should be allocated for crisis management activities, and personnel should be trained to handle crises effectively.
  • Monitoring and Review: Ongoing review and monitoring are essential to ensure the crisis management system remains effective and can adapt to new challenges and situations.
  • Legal and Regulatory Compliance: The standard also outlines the necessity to comply with legal and regulatory obligations pertaining to water and wastewater services, including during a crisis situation.
Also, the standard is particularly useful for water utilities to not just handle crises effectively, but also to instill confidence among consumers and stakeholders that appropriate measures are in place to maintain water quality and service availability, even in challenging circumstances.

For organizations such as Pacific Certifications, which are accredited to issue various ISO certifications, ISO 24518:2015 provides a structured framework that can be used to evaluate the preparedness and responsiveness of water utilities facing potential crisis scenarios. This framework can serve as a benchmark for certification, helping to ensure that these utilities meet international standards for crisis management.

What are the requirements for ISO 24518:2015?

ISO 24518:2015 drinking water and wastewater services sets forth specific guidelines and best practices for crisis management in the realm of water utilities. The objective is to enable water utilities to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disruptive events effectively, thereby minimizing risks to public health and the environment. Here are some of the key requirements of this standard:

Context of the Organization

  • Understanding the Organization and Its Context: Water utilities are required to identify internal and external issues that could impact their ability to deliver safe and reliable services.
  • Understanding the Needs and Expectations of Interested Parties: Stakeholders such as regulatory bodies, consumers, and employees have specific expectations, and these need to be identified and managed.
  • Scope of the Crisis Management System: The utility should define the scope of its crisis management system, including what will and will not be covered.
Leadership and Commitment
  • Leadership and Commitment: Top management is required to demonstrate commitment and leadership in establishing and maintaining an effective crisis management system.
  • Policy: Organizations must develop and communicate a crisis management policy.


  • Risk Assessment: Comprehensive risk assessment methods must be utilized to identify vulnerabilities and threats.
  • Crisis Management Objectives and Plans: Objectives should be set, along with detailed plans for achieving them.


  • Resource Allocation: Necessary resources, including financial, technological, and human, must be allocated to establish, implement, maintain, and continually improve the crisis management system.
  • Training and Competence: Employees involved in crisis management activities need to be properly trained and competent.


  • Operational Planning and Control: Detailed plans should be developed to address various types of crises, including response procedures and coordination protocols.
  • Information and Communication: Effective internal and external communication channels should be established.

Performance Evaluation

  • Monitoring, Measurement, Analysis, and Evaluation: Organizations are required to assess the effectiveness of the crisis management system through regular monitoring and measurement.
  • Internal Audit and Management Review: Regular audits and management reviews are necessary to ensure ongoing effectiveness and suitability of the crisis management system.
  • Nonconformity and Corrective Action: Procedures should be in place for dealing with nonconformities, and corrective actions should be taken where necessary.
  • Continual Improvement: The organization is expected to continuously improve the suitability, adequacy, and effectiveness of the crisis management system.

Overall, for certification bodies like Pacific Certifications, the ISO 24518:2015 standard provides a comprehensive framework to evaluate a water utility’s crisis management capabilities. This includes everything from planning and risk assessment to resource allocation and continual improvement. By certifying against this standard, water utilities can demonstrate to stakeholders their commitment to crisis management, which can also be an avenue for enhancing their reputation and operational reliability.

What are the benefits of ISO 24518:2015 drinking water and wastewater services?

Implementing and adhering to the ISO 24518:2015 standard on crisis management for water utilities offers a range of benefits that enhance operational efficiency, public trust, and regulatory compliance. Below are some of the key advantages:

Enhanced Preparedness

  • Risk Assessment: The standard ensures that utilities identify, assess, and manage potential risks, contributing to a more robust and resilient operation.
  • Planning and Strategy: It prompts water utilities to develop and document crisis management plans, which can be vital for effective responses to various types of incidents.

Improved Response and Recovery

  • Standardized Procedures: The standard provides a structured approach to crisis management, ensuring that all staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities during a crisis.
  • Resource Optimization: Through planning and prioritization, the standard helps in the efficient allocation of resources, enabling rapid response and recovery.

Regulatory Compliance and Recognition

  • Compliance: Implementing ISO 24518:2015 can make it easier for water utilities to meet local, state, and federal regulations related to crisis management.
  • International Recognition: ISO certification is globally recognized, which can provide an edge when seeking international partnerships or projects.
Stakeholder Confidence
  • Consumer Trust: Demonstrating adherence to international standards can enhance the reputation of the water utility and instill confidence among consumers.
  • Investor Relations: A robust crisis management system can make the utility more attractive to investors by minimizing risks.

Continuous Improvement

  • Monitoring and Review: The standard requires regular audits and reviews, enabling utilities to continually improve their crisis management procedures.
  • Learning and Adaptation: The system fosters a culture of ongoing learning and adaptation, crucial for dealing with evolving risks and challenges.

Cost Savings

  • Efficiency: Effective crisis management can result in faster recovery times, reducing downtime and the associated costs.
  • Liability: Being prepared and able to effectively manage crises may limit the extent of damages, thereby potentially reducing legal liabilities.

Also, for organizations such as Pacific Certifications, accrediting water utilities against ISO 24518:2015 offers an opportunity to uphold the standard’s comprehensive framework for crisis management. This assists in providing a meaningful evaluation of a water utility’s capabilities and preparedness, thereby adding value to the certification services offered.

Who needs ISO 24518:2015?

ISO 24518:2015 drinking water and wastewater services is designed primarily for water utilities involved in the provision, treatment, and distribution of drinking water, as well as the collection, treatment, and discharge of wastewater. However, the applicability of this standard extends beyond just these primary entities. Here’s a breakdown of who might need this standard:

Primary Candidates

  • Public Water Utilities: Government-owned or state-owned water treatment and distribution centers can greatly benefit from this standard to improve crisis management protocols.
  • Private Water Companies: Private entities involved in the water sector can use this standard to demonstrate their commitment to crisis management, enhancing their reputation and trustworthiness.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plants: Both public and private entities involved in wastewater treatment can benefit from the standard by implementing robust crisis management systems.

Regulatory and Oversight Bodies

  • Local and National Government Agencies: Governmental bodies responsible for water and environmental regulation may use this standard as a benchmark for assessing the crisis management capabilities of utilities under their jurisdiction.
  • Certification Bodies: Organizations like Pacific Certifications can use ISO 24518:2015 as a rigorous framework for certifying water utilities in crisis management.
Ancillary Stakeholders
  • Consultants and Advisors: Professionals advising water utilities on crisis management can use this standard as a structured approach to guide their recommendations.
  • Emergency Services: Entities such as fire departments, healthcare services, and other first responders can align their crisis response strategies with water utilities that follow this standard, for a more cohesive approach to crisis management.
  • Suppliers and Vendors: Companies that provide equipment or services related to water treatment and distribution can better align their products to meet the crisis management needs of water utilities adhering to this standard.

General Public and Community Organizations

  • Consumer Advocacy Groups: These groups can use ISO 24518:2015 as a tool to hold water utilities accountable for effective crisis management.
  • Educational Institutions: Schools and universities offering courses in public health, environmental science, or emergency management may include this standard in their curriculum to provide a comprehensive understanding of crisis management in the water sector.

Overall, by adopting ISO 24518:2015, these organizations and entities can not only improve their own crisis management capabilities but can also contribute to creating a more resilient and reliable water sector. It fosters an environment of trust and confidence among consumers, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies, promoting a culture of excellence and continuous improvement in crisis management.

At last, Pacific Certifications is accredited by ABIS, you need more support with ISO 24518:2015 drinking water and wastewater services, please contact us at +91-8595603096 or support@pacificcert.com

Also read: Water Audit

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