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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Integrating Ecosystem Services into Risk Assessments for Drinking Water Protection

Gaertner, Nadine; Lindhe, Andreas; Wahtra, Julia; Soederqvist, Tore; Lang, Lars-Ove; Nordzell, Henrik; Norrman, Jenny; Rosen, Lars


Water protection is a widely supported goal in society, but competing interests often complicate the implementation of water protection measures. Moreover, the benefits of protection efforts are typically underestimated as risk assessments focus on the provision of drinking water and neglect the additional services provided by a clean drinking water source. We developed a list of water system services (WSS) that allows assessment of all biotic and abiotic services provided by a drinking water source. The WSS were derived from the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES). The objectives of this paper are to (i) introduce the concept of WSS, (ii) describe a procedure on how to develop a region-specific list of WSS and present a list of WSS specifically tailored to Sweden, (iii) present how to integrate WSS into a risk assessment for drinking water, and (iv) illustrate a practical application on a Swedish case study. The results, presented as an assessment matrix, show the provided services and contrast the hazard sources with their impact on all services. The WSS assessment can be used to communicate and negotiate the extent of water protection measures with relevant stakeholders and illustrate synergies and trade-offs of protective measures beyond drinking water protection.


ecosystem services; water system services; drinking water; water protection; source water protection; risk assessment; water safety plan

Published in

2022, Volume: 14, number: 8, article number: 1180Publisher: MDPI

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG6 Clean water and sanitation

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

    Publication identifier


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