Provision of safe and adequate drinking water to consumers requires careful planning and management by the water utilities. As water is a basic necessity, supplying drinking water is a continuous process and water utilities focus on the whole management process from the catchment to the source, and finally to the consumers’ taps. Water that is unacceptable in appearance, taste and odour will undermine the confidence of consumers, lead to complaints and, more importantly, lead to the use of water from sources that are less safe. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the water utilities to ensure provision of a safe and acceptable water supply to consumers.
In Study Session 6, you learned about the organisational structure of water utilities and their responsibilities in the operation and maintenance of water treatment and supply systems. In Study Session 7 you considered the particular problems associated with leakage that water utilities face and how they deal with them. In this study session, you will learn more about four key aspects of the duties and responsibilities of water utilities. These are the nature of good governance; the duties of water utilities to keep water treatment plants operational; dealing with customer concerns and complaints; and the various tests and standards for assessing water quality that apply.