Service quality

Many of the 3.5 billion people having access to piped water receive a poor or very poor quality of service, especially in developing countries where about 80% of the world population lives. Water supply service quality has many dimensions: continuity; water quality; pressure; and the degree of responsiveness of service providers to customer complaints. [edit]Continuity of supply Continuity of water supply is taken for granted in most developed countries, but is a severe problem in many developing countries, where sometimes water is only provided for a few hours every day or a few days a week. It is estimated that about half of the population of developing countries receives water on an intermittent basis. [edit]Water quality Drinking water quality has a micro-biological and a physico-chemical dimension. There are thousands of parameters of water quality. In public water supply systems water should, at a minimum, be disinfectedЧmost commonly through the use of chlorination or the use of ultra violet lightЧor it may need to undergo treatment, especially in the case of surface water. For more details, please see the separate entries on water quality, water treatment and drinking water. [edit]Water pressure 1880s model of pumping engine, in Herne Bay Museum Water pressures vary in different locations of a distribution system. Water mains below the street may operate at higher pressures, with a pressure reducer located at each point where the water enters a building or a house. In poorly managed systems, water pressure can be so low as to result only in a trickle of water or so high that it leads to damage to plumbing fixtures and waste of water. Pressure in an urban water system is typically maintained either by a pressurized water

tank serving an urban area, by pumping the water up into a tower and relying on gravity to maintain a constant pressure in the system or solely by pumps at the water treatment plant and repeater pumping stations. Typical UK pressures are 4Ц5 bar for an urban supply.[citation needed] However, some people can get over eight bars or below one bar. A single iron main pipe may cross a deep valley, it will have the same nominal pressure, however each consumer will get a bit more or less because of the hydrostatic pressure (about 1 bar/10 m height). So people at the bottom of a 100-foot (30 m) hill will get about 3 bars more than those at the top. The effective pressure also varies because of the supply resistance even for the same static pressure. An urban consumer may have 5 meters of ?-inch lead pipe running from the iron main, so the kitchen tap flow will be fairly unrestricted, so high flow. A rural consumer may have a kilometer of rusted and limed ?" iron pipe, so their kitchen tap flow will be small. For this reason the UK domestic water system has traditionally (prior to 1989) employed a "cistern feed" system, where the incoming supply is connected to the kitchen sink and also a header/storage tank in the attic. Water can dribble into this tank through a ?" lead pipe, plus ball valve, and then supply the house on 22 or 28 mm pipes. Gravity water has a small pressure (say ? bar in the bathroom) but needs wide pipes allow higher flows. This is fine for baths and toilets but is frequently inadequate for showers. People install shower booster pumps to increase the pressure. For this reason urban houses are increasingly using mains pressure boilers (combies) which take a long time to fill a bath but suit the high back pressure of a shower.