Summary of Study Session 6

In Study Session 6, you have learned that:

  1. Water utilities have many different departments, each with specific responsibilities. The Operation and Maintenance Department is vital for ensuring the continuous supply of good-quality water.
  2. Operation refers to the activities and procedures needed to keep a system running.
  3. Maintenance is the planned technical activity, or an activity taken in response to a breakdown, to keep a system operating. The former is referred to as ‘preventive maintenance’ and the latter as ‘breakdown maintenance’.
  4. Preventive maintenance contributes to continuity of water supply, thus reducing disruption to service, which can be costly to put right. It also ensures that the full service life of equipment is achieved and consequently saves money for the water utility. Continuity of service further means that the income from the sale of water is not interrupted.
  5. Life-cycle costing is a means of arriving at an objective decision when considering the purchase of assets.
  6. Maintenance schedules for assets should be based on their criticality to the water supply system.
  7. Having a stock of spare parts enables repairs to be carried out quickly.
  8. Standardisation of equipment and spares simplifies stock management, reduces purchase costs, and reduces the range of staff skills required for repairs, thus increasing the chances of more people being able to undertake repairs and maintenance.
  9. The Operation and Maintenance Manual is the guide by which the water supply system is run, and contains a description of the system, Health and Safety advice, instructions for starting up and operating equipment, emergency procedures, and listings of the required tasks, with timings.
  10. Staff should be adequately trained in operation and maintenance, and technical capacity should be built up in the water utility.
  11. Measures must be in place to ensure that natural disasters do not affect water supply.

6.7  Coping with natural disasters

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 6