Operation refers to the routine activities and procedures that are implemented to ensure that the water supply system is working efficiently. The activities that contribute to the operation of a water utility are undertaken by technicians and engineers who have responsibility for controlling the functions of the system (Figure 6.3).
The components of the system that they look after, such as the treatment plants, process units and all the equipment and facilities (for example, offices and laboratories) are called the assets. For each asset there will be operating guidelines to follow. For instance, a water pump should only be operated for a limited number of hours per day and this must not be exceeded, otherwise it will be exposed to overheating and eventually to failure. The pump should also be run long enough to fill the service reservoir (which you learned about in Study Session 1). If not, there will not be enough water for distribution to customers.
What are service reservoirs?
They are reservoirs of water that serve to balance the fluctuating demands of users. They also serve as a back-up supply in case there is a breakdown at the water treatment plant that cuts the production of clean water.