Public Water Supply Management An Introductory Guide

October 2011

The purpose of this Guide is to provide an introduction to public water supply management for those with limited technical background. It gives information to support readers interested in public water supply matters.

The objective of public water supply management is to supply wholesome water within set quality and levels of service criteria in sufficient quantity to meet consumer demand. Chemical and microbiological quality is rigorously monitored by water suppliers and, where necessary, action is taken immediately to rectify any deficiencies.

The link between contaminated water supplies and disease was demonstrated in the early 19thC. By the end of the 19thC the drive to provide safe water supplies and sanitation dramatically improved public health in the urban environment. Prior to this epidemics of waterborne diseases such as cholera and typhoid were common.

Although chlorine was first used on a large scale in 1908 in Jersey City, USA, it was not until an outbreak of typhoid in Croydon in 1937 that routine disinfection of water supplies in England became established practice. In more recent times there have been isolated cases of intestinal disease associated with public water supplies, but these have been localised and mainly associated with isolated instances of inadequate treatment or operational difficulties.

This Guide will explore the various sources of water for supply indicating the water quality issues associated with each; outline the quality standards that must be achieved and maintained in public water supplies; describe the most commonly used treatment processes and the arrangements for distributing water to homes and places of work. Copies of the report are available from the Foundation, price 15.00, less 20% to FWR members.

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