The operation and management of a drinking water supply system is one of the most important jobs in the world. While the ultimate responsibility and credit for running a safe water supply system belongs to the entire water team, operators play a crucial role.
But do the upper level management recognise this sufficiently? Do they invest enough in ongoing training and professional development?
Operators must be appropriately skilled and trained, as their actions can have a major impact on drinking water quality and public health. Ideally, operators should have or be working towards upgrading their skills e.g. certificate in water operations. An operator can now attain certified status under the WIOA Australian Water Industry Operator Certification Scheme. Certified water operators are needed to perform the vital function of making and keeping drinking water safe.
Ongoing training is necessary for operators to stay up-to-date as new regulations and technologies emerge. Training needs should be identified and adequate resources made available to support relevant programs. Management should also provide operators (and other employees for that matter) with the opportunity for continued professional development (e.g. attending and/or presenting at relevant conferences and workshops).
An important element of a drinking water management system/plan is employee training and for effective implementation of the plan, this should be appropriately considered.