An integrated risk management model for source water protection areas

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Oct 17;9(10):3724-39. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9103724.


Watersheds are recognized as the most effective management unit for the protection of water resources. For surface water supplies that use water from upstream watersheds, evaluating threats to water quality and implementing a watershed management plan are crucial for the maintenance of drinking water safe for humans. The aim of this article is to establish a risk assessment model that provides basic information for identifying critical pollutants and areas at high risk for degraded water quality. In this study, a quantitative risk model that uses hazard quotients for each water quality parameter was combined with a qualitative risk model that uses the relative risk level of potential pollution events in order to characterize the current condition and potential risk of watersheds providing drinking water. In a case study of Taipei Source Water Area in northern Taiwan, total coliforms and total phosphorus were the top two pollutants of concern. Intensive tea-growing and recreational activities around the riparian zone may contribute the greatest pollution to the watershed. Our risk assessment tool may be enhanced by developing, recording, and updating information on pollution sources in the water supply watersheds. Moreover, management authorities could use the resultant information to create watershed risk management plans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Drinking Water
  • Enterobacteriaceae / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Nitrogen / analysis
  • Nitrogen / standards
  • Phosphorus / analysis
  • Phosphorus / standards
  • Risk Assessment
  • Taiwan
  • Water Pollutants / analysis*
  • Water Pollutants / standards
  • Water Pollution / analysis*
  • Water Pollution / prevention & control
  • Water Supply / analysis*
  • Water Supply / standards


  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants
  • Phosphorus
  • Nitrogen