Water is the source of life, without which humans and the natural environment cannot survive. Provision of drinking water and wastewater and stormwater management services are of paramount importance for any community. These services are provided by water utilities and ISO TC 224 wishes to promote awareness of how water utilities can fulfill effectively and efficiently the needs and expectations of their users and other stakeholders in the face of changing climate conditions and emerging technologies.
The mission of TC 224 is to prepare standards that provide good practice guidance and recommendations (via Service Standards) on provision of services by drinking water, wastewater and stormwater utilities. This includes:
- Helping stakeholders understand the fundamental concepts and vocabulary of water services' provision;
- Facilitating dialogue between stakeholders;
- Facilitating improved-governance of water utilities' service delivery;
- Helping utilities achieve service standards that meet or exceed users' and other stakeholders' reasonable expectations;
- Improving services whilst complying with the principles of sustainable development, in line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as described below.
Standardization of the management concepts for service activities and processes relating to drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems.
This structure includes activities necessary to fulfill the objectives of water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems. Water supply for purposes other than drinking water can be included in this management concept structure.
- Normative target or threshold values for service quality criteria
- Normative limits of acceptability for drinking water quality or for wastewater and stormwater discharges to the environment;
- Product specifications for chemical and biological additives for water and wastewater treatment;
- Standardization in sludge recovery, recycling, treatment and disposal as within the scope of ISO/TC 275;
- Standardization in water reuse as within the scope of ISO/TC 282;
- Methods for the measurement of water quality, which are covered by ISO/TC 147.
What are water utilities' service activities?
Water utility service activities include providing drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater management services (appropriate to the utility's service area) in accordance with requirements established by the applicable responsible bodies and relevant authorities, and the water utility’s corporate objectives to the level of service agreed with the registered users.
Service delivery requires activities that may not impact users directly but which are essential for provision of the service (e.g. management of assets). Some activities are essential to maintain service standards (e.g. water loss management). And some are intended to support users in achieving their own efficiency improvements on receipt of the service (e.g. water efficiency management).
The need for early detection and rapid response to abnormal events is encouraging some water utilities to establish innovative means of detecting and classifying abnormal events’ causation. This, allied with recent technological advances is permitting more advanced means of on-line monitoring of water service provision. Aligned with the anticipation and management of abnormal events such as cyber and other forms of terrorism is the emerging need to anticipate and respond to the impacts of climate change on the provision of services.
As illustrated by these examples, the assurance of water service provision requires a diverse range of activities. Not all of these are readily seen by the service users but they are essential for the effective and efficient discharge of a water utility’s responsibilities.
Fundamental to TC 224 is it’s need to contribute to the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. A standard has already been published on the on-site management of domestic wastewater services (a major need in many partrs of the world), and other New Work Items Proposals are being brought forward to: complement innovative technical advances in wastewater service provision in developing nations; and address service provision for displaced persons.
Levels of service examples include: provision of drinking water in sufficient quantities and qualities via users' connections, public standpipes or mobile tankers; connection to a public wastewater system providing the conveyance, treatment and safe disposal of the wastewater collected; and the collection, storage and safe disposal of stormwater runoff.
ISO TC 224 Service activities relating to drinking water supply systems and wastewater systems - Quality criteria of the service and performance indicators
In 2001, an ISO technical committee was created to improve the governance of drinking water and sanitation services and build the capacities of local communities. Since its inception ISO/TC 224 has developed standards providing guidelines for service activities related to drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems.
Water is a worldwide challenge for the 21st century, and following the Paris Agreement and the establishment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, ISO/TC 224 reaffirmed its commitment to address these challenges and contribute in particular to SDGs 6 (Clean water and sanitation), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), 12 (Responsible consumption and production) and 13 (Climate action).
The standards developed by ISO/TC 224 are designed to help water authorities and their operators:
• achieve a level of service that best meets the expectations of consumers and the principles of sustainable development;
• operate their assets with good management practices;
• manage crisis situations and face climate change issues;
• develop centralized or onsite systems for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater management, as appropriate; and
• leverage on digitalization to achieve all these goals.
Water utilities should aim to manage their facilities systematically and efficiently in order to sustain their function, ISO TC 224 aims at improving the following objectives commonly held by water utilities:
- Protecting public health;
- Meeting users’ reasonable needs and expectations;
- Providing services under normal and emergency situations;
- Promoting the sustainability of the water utilities;
- Promoting sustainable development of the community;
- Protecting the environment.
The ISO standards developed by TC 224 will help:
- Further the dialogue among stakeholders, including users, responsible authorities, public or private, operators, research institutions, and laboratories;
- Develop a mutual understanding of responsibilities and tasks;
- Provide methods and tools to define objectives and specifications, and assess performance;
- Monitor performance for possible benchmarking among water utilities;
- Develop design or construction specifications for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems and services.
TC 224 standards may be applied on a voluntary basis, in both industrialized and developing countries, in all sizes of urban jurisdictions, irrespective of whether the utility operator is public or private.
Main objectives and priorities in the work of the committee
ISO/TC 224 standards deal with:
- The definition of a terminology common to the different stakeholders;
- The clarification of user expectations, specifying the elements of the service as well as the manner of expressing the performance expected by the users;
- The clarification of governance responsibilities;
- Guidance on water efficiency management systems;
- Actions for the optimized management of these services;
- Optimizing the management of assets to contribute to the sustainability of the utility and the served jurisdiction;
- Methodologies for measuring service quality criteria and developing performance indicators for reporting to stakeholders and comparing observed results with targets;
- Crises and crisis management;
- Guidance for mitigation and adaptation to climate change impacts;
- Development of digital infrastructures for secure data management, i.e., smart utilities;
- Stormwater management practices; and
- Wastewater collection with a particular consideration for flushable products taking into account the tremendous problem for wastewater networks.
SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
The work that TC224 are undertaking contributes to the Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ensure available and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
For further information on SDG 6, refer to the United Nations Development Programme website.
Who are we?
We are the ISO Technical Committee responsible for the development of TC 224's family of international standards (the 245xx series). These are intended to be suitable for use in developed and developing countries, from big cities to small towns. They can be applied to all types of water, wastewater and stormwater assets and to all sizes of utilities.
The members of ISO TC 224 include experts in water and standardization fields, representing developed and developing countries. They work together with the aim of producing globally applicable standards whose content has been determined by consensus.
Countries currently participating in TC 224:
The list of countries participating in TC 224 and the countries who are participating as observers can be found on the ISO/TC 224 page.
What are our tools?
Like all ISO Technical Committees, ISO/TC224 can produce a variety of documents such as Publicly Available Standards, Technical Specifications, Technical Reports, Service Standards and Management System Standards.
What is TC 224 working on?
Service activities relating to drinking water supply and wastewater and stormwater systems is continually improving and evolving, and TC 224 is collecting feedback, enhancing and expanding the ISO 245xx series of International Standards. Find out more here.
Want to get involved?
Standards are developed by the people who need them – that could mean you. Technical committees include experts from both standards and industry and these experts are put forward by ISO’s national members. If you want to help shape future standards in your field, contact your national member.