Document Type

Report

Publication Date

January 1980

Abstract

Introduction: There are now more than 400 community type public drinking water systems in Utah. Considerable state and federal assistance is available for construction or renovation of such systems, but once the system is constructed and the consulting engineer leaves, the managers of the smaller systems find themselves quite isolated from sources of professional assistance. The larger systems have a revenue base which can provide ongoing services of a consultant or salaried engineer and well trained operators. The smaller systems, particularly low density rural systems where the length of pipeline per user is very high, usually find themselves barely able to pay loan service and operating costs despite user fees which are extremely high relative to urban systems. Typically, after construction of a new rural system, a part time operator with little or no training is hired at a very low wage and is supervised by community leaders who receive almost no pay and whose experience in managing domestic water systems often matches their salary. Such systems officers are usually very dedicated community minded people who spend countless hours at their assignment and do surprising well at keeping system costs to a minimum, but who often get replaced at frequent elections, just as they are gaining experience in their positions. Perhaps even more importantly, operators have a high turnover rate due to the low pay and high level of responsibility.