Water is the source of life, without which humans and the natural environment cannot survive. Drinking water and wastewater services provision is of paramount importance for any community. For many, stormwater management is also of increasing importance. ISO/TC 224 aims to increase relevant parties' awareness of water utilities and, where separate, stormwater service providers' duties in fulfilling the needs and expectations of their users and other stakeholders. It also provides water utilities with tools to help them provide their communities with adequate, sustainable and resilient services.
The mission of TC 224 is to provide good practice guidance and recommendations (via Service Standards) on service provision 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 a level of service quality that meets or exceeds users' and other stakeholders' reasonable expectations;
- Improving services whilst complying with the principles of sustainable development, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as described below.
Standardization of the management concepts for service activities 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;
- Design, specification or construction of water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems and components thereof;
- 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 activities provide drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater services (appropriate to the utility's service area) in accordance with the requirements established by the responsible bodies and relevant authorities, and the water utility’s corporate objectives to a level of service agreed with the registered users.
Service delivery can require activities that are not intended to impact users directly but which are essential for provision of the service (e.g. management of assets). Some activities are essential to maintain service efficiency (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.
As illustrated by these examples water service provision therefore 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.
TC 224 recognizes the 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 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 via users' connections, public standpipes or mobile tankers; connection to a public wastewater system and the conveyance, treatment and safe disposal of the wastewater collected; and 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
Water is a worldwide challenge for the 21st century, and the international community is striving to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Following the third World Water Forum in Kyoto in March 2003, the international community has committed to improve governance of drinking water and wastewater services and, to this effect, has made it a priority to build capacity with local governments. In 2001, an ISO technical committee was launched, ISO/TC 224, that has been developing standards providing guidelines for service activities relating to drinking water supply systems and wastewater sewerage systems. These standards are designed to help water authorities and their operators to achieve a level of quality that best meets the expectations of consumers and the principles of sustainable development.
These ISO standards will help:
- Further the dialogue among stakeholders, including consumers, local or national water authorities, public or private water utilities, research departments, laboratories;
- Develop a mutual understanding of responsibilities and tasks;
- Provide methods and tools to define, at local scale, objectives and specifications, and assess performance;
- Monitor performance for possible benchmarking among water utilities.
TC 224 standards are to be applied on a voluntary basis, in industrialized countries as in developed countries, in big cities or small towns, and 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 the consumer expectations, specifying the elements of the service as well as the manner in which to express the performances awaited by the users;
- The drawing up of a list of actions for an optimized management of these services, in agreement with the regulation;
- Methodical proposals of measurable service quality criteria and performance indicators allowing comparing, at a local scale, the observed results with targets set by the water authority.
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 are:
(in alphabetical order)
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Zambia.
In addition, many countries participate as observers, as listed 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.