Safe drinking-water and effective water quality monitoring in rural Tajikistan

Background and objectives

The provision of safe drinking-water is a challenge for small water suppliers across the WHO European Region, which experience higher frequencies of waterborne disease outbreaks than larger water supply systems. In Tajikistan, more than 73% of the population lives in rural areas, with small systems being the main source of drinking-water. WHO recommends water safety plans (WSPs) as the most effective approach to ensuring safe drinking-water.

As part of its biennial collaborative agreement with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Tajikistan, WHO/Europe has supported the Tajik government in improving access to safely managed drinking-water. WHO/Europe and the Tajik government jointly implemented the project “Small and safe: scaling-up water safety planning and effective water quality monitoring in rural Tajikistan”, which was completed in November 2018.


The project accomplished several key achievements:

  • Water safety plans were introduced in 5 districts across rural Tajikistan, improving the health and well-being of communities.
  • A national team of WSP facilitators was established, who now advise water suppliers on water safety planning.
  • A national WSP roadmap now defines key steps by various stakeholders in support of long-term sustainable uptake of WSPs in Tajikistan.
  • The new drinking-water and sanitation law incorporating the WSP approach was supported through an advisory process.
  • Guidance for surveillance authorities was developed on effective risk-based approaches to drinking-water quality monitoring.
  • Water quality monitoring equipment was upgraded in the laboratories of partnering Sanitary Epidemiological Service offices.
  • Awareness was increased in rural communities of the human right to water and the relationship between safe water, sanitation, hygiene behaviour and disease prevention.

Partner support

The project was coordinated by the WHO European Centre for Environment and Health and funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland under Finland's Water Sector Support to Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan programme.