Livsmedelsverket, the Swedish Food Agency, calls drinking water the “most important food.”

Therefore, agency recently published a handbook to help the producers of drinking water develop a plan for ensuring the safety of their product during times of crisis and war. The handbook was produced through collaboration with water operators, county administrations, state authorities, and industry organization Swedish Water.

The handbook describes the planning prerequisites for civil defense, which is what the Swedish Food Agency states must be the basis for preparedness plans. The guide also contains information how to determine threats in a drinking water area, how a crisis and war organization can be created, and knowledge about security and crisis communication, as well as templates and checklists. The guide is divided into seven modules.

A draft of the handbook was published in autumn 2022, but due to high demand and suggestions for improvements, the Swedish Food Agency has published an updated, final version. Alongside the handbook the agency has also initiated educational tours for drinking water producers and decision-makers to inspire action.

Overall, the Swedish Food Agency states that there is “fundamentally good crisis preparedness” within the Swedish drinking water supply. The handbook and other drinking water safety initiatives are intended to support the country’s civil defense and further enhance crisis preparedness among water providers.